Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change

August 28th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

In the context of climate change, is what we are seeing in Houston a new level of disaster which is becoming more common?

The flood disaster unfolding in Houston is certainly very unusual. But so are other natural weather disasters, which have always occurred and always will occur.

(By the way, making naturally-occurring severe weather seem unnatural is a favorite tactic of Al Gore, whose new movie & book An Inconvenient Sequel [ currently #21,168 in Kindle] is dismantled in my new e-book, An Inconvenient Deception [currently #399]).

Floods aren’t just due to weather

Major floods are difficult to compare throughout history because the ways in which we alter the landscape. For example, as cities like Houston expand over the years, soil is covered up by roads, parking lots, and buildings, with water rapidly draining off rather than soaking into the soil. The population of Houston is now ten times what it was in the 1920s. The Houston metroplex area has expanded greatly and the water drainage is basically in the direction of downtown Houston.

There have been many flood disasters in the Houston area, even dating to the mid-1800s when the population was very low. In December of 1935 a massive flood occurred in the downtown area as the water level height measured at Buffalo Bayou in Houston topped out at 54.4 feet.

Downtown Houston flood of 1935.

By way of comparison, as of 6:30 a.m. this (Monday) morning, the water level in the same location is at 38 feet, which is still 16 feet lower than in 1935. I’m sure that will continue to rise.

Are the rainfall totals unprecedented?

Even that question is difficult to answer. The exact same tropical system moving at, say, 15 mph might have produced the same total amount of rain, but it would have been spread over a wide area, maybe many states, with no flooding disaster. This is usually what happens with landfalling hurricanes.

Instead, Harvey stalled after it came ashore and so all of the rain has been concentrated in a relatively small portion of Texas around the Houston area. In both cases, the atmosphere produced the same amount of rain, but where the rain lands is very different. People like those in the Houston area don’t want all of the rain to land on them.

There is no aspect of global warming theory that says rain systems are going to be moving slower, as we are seeing in Texas. This is just the luck of the draw. Sometimes weather systems stall, and that sucks if you are caught under one. The same is true of high pressure areas; when they stall, a drought results.

Even with the system stalling, the greatest multi-day rainfall total as of 3 9 a.m. this Monday morning is just over 30 39.7 inches, with many locations recording over 20 inches. We should recall that Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 (a much smaller and weaker system than Harvey) produced a 43 inch rainfall total in only 24 hours in Houston.

Was Harvey unprecedented in intensity?

In this case, we didn’t have just a tropical storm like Claudette, but a major hurricane, which covered a much larger area with heavy rain. Roger Pielke Jr. has pointed out that the U.S. has had only four Category 4 (or stronger) hurricane strikes since 1970, but in about the same number of years preceding 1970 there were 14 strikes. So we can’t say that we are experiencing more intense hurricanes in recent decades.

Going back even earlier, a Category 4 hurricane struck Galveston in 1900, killing between 6,000 and 12,000 people. That was the greatest natural disaster in U.S. history.

And don’t forget, we just went through an unprecedented length of time – almost 12 years – without a major hurricane (Cat 3 or stronger) making landfall in the U.S.

So what makes this event unprecedented?

The National Weather Service has termed the event unfolding in the Houston area as unprecedented. I’m not sure why. I suspect in terms of damage and number of people affected, that will be the case. But the primary reason won’t be because this was an unprecedented meteorological event.

If we are talking about the 100 years or so that we have rainfall records, then it might be that southeast Texas hasn’t seen this much total rain fall over a fairly wide area. At this point it doesn’t look like any rain gage locations will break the record for total 24 hour rainfall in Texas, or possibly even for storm total rainfall, but to have so large an area having over 20 inches is very unusual.

They will break records for their individual gage locations, but that’s the kind of record that is routinely broken somewhere anyway, like record high and low temperatures.

In any case, I’d be surprised if such a meteorological event didn’t happen in centuries past in this area, before we were measuring them.

And don’t pay attention to claims of 500 year flood events, which most hydrologists dislike because we don’t have enough measurements over time to determine such things, especially when they also depend on our altering of the landscape over time.

Bill Read, a former director of the National Hurricane Center was asked by a CNN news anchor whether he thought that Harvey was made worse because of global warming. Read’s response was basically, No.

“Unprecedented” doesn’t necessarily mean it represents a new normal. It can just be a rare combination of events. In 2005 the U.S. was struck by many strong hurricanes, and the NHC even ran out of names to give all of the tropical storms. Then we went almost 12 years without a major (Cat 3 or stronger) hurricane strike.

Weird stuff happens.

I remember many years ago in one of the NWS annual summaries of lightning deaths there was a golfer who was struck by lightning. While an ambulance transported the man to the hospital, the ambulance was stuck by lightning and it finished the poor fellow off.

There is coastal lake sediment evidence of catastrophic hurricanes which struck the Florida panhandle over 1,000 years ago, events which became less frequent in the most recent 1,000 years.

Weather disasters happen, with or without the help of humans.


334 Responses to “Why Houston Flooding Isn’t a Sign of Climate Change”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. Mickey Prumt says:

    2 day of no hurricane drought over land.

    Its now 2 days without no hurricane over land.

    • Glenn Morris says:

      The empirical data in the article shows the flooding of Houston/Buffalo Bayou far exceeding today’s flooding.

      Climate change or just climate?

      The climate is warming due to the trend of our most recent Ice Age warming…

      Pinning this on human causes is like pinning the tail on the unicorn named Gore.

      Gulf temp anomalies today are 0 – +1 on collection data from 1985 to this date.

      http://www.surf-forecast.com/breaks/Destin/seatemp

      My seawall (Florida Panhandle) has not seen a change in its High Tide water mark since installed in 1956.

      • M North says:

        Your location must be an anomaly, just like Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential loss was an anomaly, right. Houston’s impermeable expanses and flat topography caused the flooding, a stalled storm caused the intense rainfall…. so yes, what happened in Houston was a result of man made changes to our planet, but had nothing to do with purported climate change bullshit that’s being shoved down everybody’s throats !

    • larry teig says:

      “Sometimes weather systems stall, and that sucks if you are caught under one.”

      THIS STATEMENT WOULD NOT COME FROM A SCIENTIST. THINGS DON’T JUST “SOMETIMES” HAPPEN. THERE IS A REASON.

      • larry teig says:

        “They will break records for their individual gage locations, but thats the kind of record that is routinely broken somewhere anyway, like record high and low temperatures.”

        ANOTHER RIDICULOUS STATEMENT BY THE AUTHOR.

        RECORDS ARE ALWAYS BROKEN??? IS THAT YOUR EXPLANATION?? WHERE IS THE SCIENCE FROM THIS SO CALLED SCIENTIST

        • larry teig says:

          “Bill Read, a former director of the National Hurricane Center was asked by a CNN news anchor whether he thought that Harvey was made worse because of global warming. Reads response was basically, No.”

          FUNNY HOW THE AUTHOR CLAIMS THAT WE DON’T KNOW ENOUGH TO A MAKE FIRM STATEMENTS ABOUT DAILY CLIMATE EVENTS YET HE QUOTES SOMEONE WHO CATEGORICALLY MAKES A CLAIM OF “NO”

          • larry teig says:

            “Weird stuff happens.

            I REST MY CASE THAT THE AUTHOR IS A FRAUD

          • larry teig says:

            The last 50 years or so have seen real evidence come to light that random mutation and “natural selection are incapable of building complexity. Observation of malaria, E. coli and HIV, all of which exist in vast numbers and have short life cycles, have shown that while ‘Darwinian’ processes can cause minor changes, always involving a loss of complexity, they cannot build complexity nor can they begin to explain where the proteins and genes came from in the first place. Again, the Bible has said all along that life was originally created and has ever since reproduced ‘after its kind’

            OH- AND IF YOU ARE NOT CONVINCED- SPENCER ALSO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION

          • M North says:

            Read up on Francis Crick’s chaos theory of evolution…if you can pull your ego inflated head out of the rubbish text you use for personal guidance….better books are available at the supermarket checkout aisle !

          • David Appell says:

            larry teig says:
            “…have shown that while Darwinian processes can cause minor changes, always involving a loss of complexity, they cannot build complexity nor can they begin to explain where the proteins and genes came from in the first place.”

            And just who built “god,” who is claimed to be vastly more complex than any species here on Earth?

          • David Jones says:

            Try breathing into a paper bag for a minute, Larry.

          • Nate says:

            Larry,

            The evolution statement, is that a quote from Roy Spencer? Where from?

        • Jake says:

          So a scientist (yes he is a scientist) goes against the party line of AGW and you freak out? What is your background? What is your PHD in? What scientific work have you completed? Was it pier reviewed? If you intend to criticize an actual scientist you need to be able to prove your background.

      • stan olson says:

        You’re obviously not a scientist. There are obviously reasons for everything happening, but if you identify why things happen then “they just happen”.

        • Cheese says:

          Do you have any idea how the world actually works? You are not Newtonian, are you, who expects that every movement of every molecule that was created after the Big Bang started cooling, if known, could show the past and lay out the future?

          For crying out loud, temperatures and storms and all these things, when used to show trends, ARE MEDIANS or other statistical constructs. The real world actually does have random events. The author even spells out some of those events with real statistics!

      • David Longfellow says:

        Thus proclaims a true believer and priest ordained by the global warming religion.

      • SocietalNorm says:

        Weather is a chaotic system with essentially random currents and eddies. It is not a determinant system. Therefore, yes, stuff just does “sometimes” happen.

  2. Nate says:

    The only thing we know for sure about global warming’s effect on hurricanes is that the ocean water is warmer, making more moisture and energy available to storms that have already formed. The gulf is currently about 3 F warmer than usual. This is undeniable.

    This likely means more rain and more strength than otherwise. But it seems that predicting paths and hurricane numbers is inherently difficult.

  3. Paul Linsay says:

    I once had a comment published over at Climate Audit that pointed out that the probability distribution of large landfalling hurricanes is Poisson. Using Pielke’s numbers the expected average number of hurricanes is (14+4)/2 = 9 in a 46 year interval. The expected one sigma fluctuation is +- 3. In other words, there’s really nothing unusual in the number of landfalling hurricanes, just statitical fluctuations up and down.

    • Paul,

      Thank you for that well-grounded comment. Why do so many meteorologists and climate scientists describe weather events as if statistics was never invented? My favorite: “It’s catastrophic, unprecedented, epic” by NWS meteorologist Patrick Blood. No ink for discussing probability, standard deviations, etc!

      Are there tabulations of rainfall events in terms of gallons, with which to compare this? “around 25 trillion gallons may be the final statewide rainfall total for Harvey, which is such a unique storm due to its slow-moving nature that the NWS has nearly run out of superlatives describing it.”

      http://mashable.com/2017/08/27/harvey-dumps-11-trillion-gallons-water-houston-flood/

      “Biggest ever” would be more meaningful if the second biggest was mentioned (perhaps ruining the biblical narrative is the increment is small).

      Some of this is Princess Bride-level failure. Michael Lowry at UCAR: “There is a national disaster unfolding in Texas right now. The scale and scope is unimaginable.” That word doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

      https://twitter.com/MichaelRLowry/status/901790189445672960

      This is much like during the 2015-16 El Nino, where the descriptions quickly became almost insane: the super monster Godzilla El Nino.

      It can’t be good for these professions that they gush like film starlets seeking their 15 minutes.

      • lewis says:

        They’re selling agitation and fear – it’s good for advertising dollars.

        Don’t watch TV. You’ll calm right down.

  4. Fred says:

    “They will break records for their individual gage locations, but thats the kind of record that is routinely broken somewhere anyway,like record high and low temperatures.” My understanding is that over the past few decades, high temperature records outnumber low by about 3-1. By itself that is some sort of record. Correct me if I am wrong, please.

    • Not surprised, since we’ve been in a warm period and the urban heat island (UHI) effect is probably still in the thermometer data (it cannot be removed by homogenization procedures because it looks like gradual global warming, and occurs for all but the most pristine thermometer sites).

    • That’s a fairly misleading statistic. It obscures the absolute change in highs and lows.

      Say that in the beginning, there were 10 low records and 10 high records for a ratio of 1.

      Then, there were 0 low records and 1 high record.
      The ratio would be infinite, but there would be fewer, not more high records.

      For consistent stations within the USHCN, the all time record high for nearly three fourths of stations occurred in the first half of the record:

      https://turbulenteddies.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/ushcn_conus_tmax_1905_2014_por_high_tmax.png

      You can see this in On the Decrease of Hot Days in the US

      I found the same thing in the spatially analyzed monthly data was well in On the Decrease of Hot and Cold Months in the US

    • Randy says:

      The questions you have to ask and be able to answer are these:

      1) “What is the correct temperature of the earth supposed to be?”
      2) “How do you know your answer to question 1 is correct?”
      (credit to Ivar Giaever, Physicist & Nobel Prize winner)

      If you can’t answer that question you can’t know if the the warming (or cooling) trend the earth is currently showing is a true deviation from the norm and a swing back to the norm.

      Hence this whole climate change thingy is just a money grab.

      • David Appell says:

        There is no “correct temperature” for the Earth — there is only the temperature species have adapted to.

        Having to adapt to a new climate is stressful to species — especially to the nearly unprecedented rate of climate change now taking place. In the past, many species have gone extinct when facing climate change. And that was before all the other barriers mankind is placing in the way of nonhuman species.

        PS: Ivar Giaever is a climate change crank who doesn’t know what he’s talking about wrt climate science.

        • Mark Luhman says:

          David you say “especially to the nearly unprecedented rate of climate change now taking place.” how do you know that? Have you been around the last few million years, you statement is unknowable. We don’t know what we are measuring let along it what were are measuring anything of value. Get back to me say in a few thousand years, at that point mankind might have the answer. I know very well mankind doesn’t and you don’t know if you statement is true, you might believe it but you don’t know if it is a fact. All we have is a bunch of measurements take as a whole they are red noise and you cannot get a signal out of red noise. If you think you can fine believe what you want but don’t spout BS and thing the rest of us are going to believe it. The climate temperature has change a lot in the last 100,000 there are complete ecosystem that now exist in place that had a covered by a mile of ice less than twenty thousand years ago. Somehow those animals plants adapted fairly well. When the northern hemisphere glaciers disappeared that was some warming making today warming look like an ant hill compared to a mountain of warming that allowed those glaciers to melt.

  5. Curious George says:

    “Unprecedented” means “we are ready to blame Trump.”

  6. gbaikie says:

    The usefulness of the pseudo science of ‘global warming” is politicians can deflect attention away from their incompetence.

    Any kind of flood is dangerous and a city flood control should priority for politicians. Obviously, they failed.

    I think of myself as libertarian, but not generally in favor of the private sector doing things like flood control. But it’s important and perhaps the politician are incapable of focusing on the things they should be focused.
    The problem with private sector doing such things, is what does it leave for politicians to be doing- and it could encourage them to pretend to want to more things that they shouldn’t be controlling [badly].

    • Farbar says:

      There is no city which has a flood control plan for 40″ of rainfall. No where. No how.

      • Fulco says:

        Actually there is, we have it. It costs on average 25 dollar per month per person.

        • gbaikie says:

          So about 6 billion dollar per million people?

          Sounds expensive, but for a government not bad, if it worked, and if could handle worst case for say Houston, 60′ inches in 5 days.
          Obviously one still could get some flooded streets, but 12 hours after, your streets should clear.
          Of course one should also have emergency road system, which handle emergencies of system failing or more rain or flood water than for worst case.

          • gbaikie says:

            Of course Houston will spend more money not having such a system.

          • Fulco says:

            Well it creates jobs and keeps our feet dry.
            We have a special autonomous democratic government for that called “het Hoogheemraadschap”. This money can only be spend on water management.

  7. Ted Gilles says:

    Excellent much needed explanation. Thanks.

  8. ossqss says:

    It would be interesting to see the % change in impervious surface coverage in the Houston metro area today vs. The early 1900’s.

    I recorded a 6″ rainfall in a 1.5 hr period this Saturday in Bradenton Fl. on the way to a 12″ total in 24 hrs. from a low pressure trough over the state. Things do happen chaotically sometimes.

    I wish those affected in Houston all the best for a quick recovery from this disastrous situation.

  9. Nate says:

    https://weather.com/storms/severe/news/flood-fatigue-2015-2016-texas-louisiana-oklahoma

    18 Major Flood Events Have Hit Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas Since March 2015.

    I couldnt blame folks living in this part of the country if they think maybe climate change is real.

  10. Entropic man says:

    In her October Dean’s lecture reprted here

    https://thestute.com/2015/10/02/jennifer-francis-details-the-effects-of-climate-change/

    Dr Jennifer Francis discussed the effect of changing jet streams on extreme weather events.

    “Francis also discussed the change of the jet stream and what that means for weather patterns. Because of this increased temperature, the jet stream is increasing in wavelength and slowing in speed. These changes result in larger weather events that last longer due a slow moving stream West to East.”

    The key words are “slow moving”.

  11. Svante says:

    The top post says: “There is no aspect of global warming theory that says rain systems are going to be moving slower, as we are seeing in Texas.”

    Michael E Mann says:
    “The stalling is due to very weak prevailing winds, which are failing to steer the storm off to sea, allowing it to spin around and wobble back and forth. This pattern, in turn, is associated with a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system over much of the US at the moment, with the jet stream pushed well to the north. This pattern of subtropical expansion is predicted in model simulations of human-caused climate change.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/28/climate-change-hurricane-harvey-more-deadly

  12. David Appell says:

    Climate change is certainly making the Houston flooding worse, because sea level is rising. That increases storm surges and brings more water inland.

    Galveston, which is a barrier island, has seen 0.75 meters of sea level rise since 1900:

    [link not permitted]

    Much of that is due to the island’s subsistence, so sea level rise is making this worse than where the land isn’t sinking. And, with small-slope beaches and relatively flat land, the inland extension of the water is increasing even faster.

    inland extension ~ sea level rise/sin(shore slope)

  13. JohnD says:

    And much more of Houston is now covered in concrete and asphalt than in 1979.

  14. Wrong. Every extreme unusual weather event is indeed a sign of climate change. We are entering a new climate era brought on by the sun that is causing more clouds to form and more high and low pressure systems that stall in one stop for unusual amounts of time that bring unprecedented rainfall, snowfall, hot, cold you name it. It is all getting worse. I use to be a climate change denier until I looked at the evidence that proves that is indeed happening but not like the media says it is because of our co2 emissions. It is a purposeful miscoy to keep us unprepared for the next disastrous cold era and then when things get really bad and take a turn for the worse they can say “oh but we were only trying to help but we were somehow accidentally wrong but you still need to pay us your tax dollars anyways because we were trying to help.” Yes Climate change is indeed real. Yes the climate is changing. Yes man has an influence on it but it is too tiny to matter so what’s the point? Oh I know! Global consumption tax and population control!

  15. jacksmith4tx says:

    There are a few historical weather reports from the gulf region from the early 1500s. Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca reported several deaths from freezing in November 1519 somewhere near the mouth of the Guadalupe river. His small fleet of boats were destroyed by powerful storms along the gulf coast. Amazing story if you ever get a chance to read about his journey through the south western region of N. America.

  16. Darwin Wyatt says:

    I think we’re seeing how an ice sheet develops…

  17. ren says:

    Low returned over the Gulf of Mexico and rainfall returned to Houston.
    https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/houston-tx/77002/weather-radar/351197

  18. ren says:

    “As the perilous situation unfolded, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner defended the decision not to issue evacuation orders ahead of the flooding rain.
    Well, the reality is this is unprecedented, Turner said at a Sunday press conference. Theres a lot of rain, so which neighborhood would you have to evacuate? Quite frankly, every neighborhood, every community received water and are flooded. Every bayou went over its banks. You cannot put in the city of Houston, 2.3 million people on the road. That is dangerous.
    Between Houston and an evacuation of surrounding Harris County, there wouldve been over 6.5 million people on the road, Turner explained.”

    • Entropic man says:

      Not an easy choice.

      The last time they evacuated Houston, people died.

      When they evacuated before Hurricane Rita in 2005 more than 70 people died in the evacuation and 100 odd in a weaker than expected storm..

      Turner must have decided that fewer people would die this time if they stayed put.

    • barry says:

      Yes, EM. The path of lest regret is not an easy pick in a storm.

  19. Dale says:

    It was interesting to see how little (in mind) Michael Mann really is. This morning I pointed out a few things he left out of his comments and asked several questions. The first responses were from his fans and included being called names, apparently getting all my misinformation from Roy Spencer, and being told I know nothing followed by my comment being removed and being banned from his site.
    What an unbelievable disgrace this (Mann) really is…

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      Dale…”What an unbelievable disgrace this (Mann) really is”

      You got that right. His supporters fall under that category as well.

      Mann has attacked Dr. Judith Curry based on her sexual status. That gives a clue to his basic mind set. On the Climategate email scandal, Mann was front and centre trying to interfere with peer review. His buddy, Phil Jones of CRU, bragged about using Mann’s ‘trick’ to hide declining temperatures by snipping off the offending proxy temperature data and splicing in real temperatures. The practice has become known as ‘hide the decline’.

      His hockey stick was easily debunked by statisticians McIntyre and McKittrick, who were later corroborated by statistics expert Wegman, part of a US government panel appointed to investigate the hockey stick study (MBB98).

      Bradley of MBB98 sued Wegman for plagiarism? Excuse me?? Wegman was investigating Bradley and he quoted from his work without giving Bradley credit, even though Wegman had set a precedent by citing him earlier in the investigation, think that would be sufficient. The glaring point is that Bradley did not sue Wegman for finding his work was rubbish, he sued him on a technicality.

      The National Academy of Science also investigated as part of the panel, and they told Mann he could not claim a full thousand years for his study. The IPCC later amended the 1000 year claim to 1850 onward, while discarding the hockey stick graph. They replaced it with a graph that re-installed the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period which played havoc with the straightness of the hockey stick shaft.

      Shame on the IPCC for allowing the hockey stick in the first place. They had previously acknowledged the LIA and MWP in 1990 yet they ignored the omission of both in the hockey stick. That’s how desperate they were for evidence, albeit pseudo-science, for their lame theories on AGW.

      NAS also told Mann he could not use pine tree bristlecone for the 20th century. That effectively threw out his study since the 20th century tree proxy data came from pine tree bristlecone.

      All in all, Mann comes across as a scientist lacking the fundamentals of science. He’s a geologist who speaks as if he has expertise in atmospheric physics. In a study with Stieg, another alarmist, they claimed Antarctica has warmed since 1950. Turns out they took warming from a small part of the Antarctic Peninsula, close to the tip of South America, and extrapolated that warming to show a warming right across Antarctica that did not exist.

      The highlight of the study was a weather station on the mainland that turned out to be under 4 feet of snow.

      • David Appell says:

        All opinion, no evidence. As usual.

        BTW, the hockey stick is now standard science. As I showed earlier, it arises from the laws of physics.

        • g*e*r*a*n says:

          Davie’s “laws of physics” indicate that the Sun can heat Earth to 800,000K, as the Earth then heats the Sun!

          “Perpetual heating”!

          All courtesy of Davie’s pseudoscience.

          • David Appell says:

            You were shown the calculation. Now you still deny it and are being a sore loser. But that’s all you ever contribute here — mindless trolling. I can definitely see why you’re too embarrassed to sign your real name to your comments.

  20. Gordon Robertson says:

    Roy…I think you have hit the nail on the head. Areas like Houston are simply not prepared to deal with such a disaster.

    I feel for Texans going through this disaster, however, Texans also pride themselves on their lack of government interference, meaning they eschew a centralized form of government with the associated taxation that could provide relief from flooding.

    It likely makes no sense to Texans in the long run to invest in flood control since they seldom have issues with it. I think you might find a few converts, however, as people struggle to survive right now.

    Same thing with tornadoes. Tornado Alley extends through several US states from Texas up to and including Canada. Every year, homes in towns are shredded yet people rebuild with the same wood frame homes that are prone to tornado damage. Why not build homes made of reinforced concrete with strong shutter systems over doors and windows that can withstand the forces of tornadoes or hurricanes?

    We are just as bad in Canada. We seem willing to roll the dice, rebuilding with wood frame homes in a tornado-prone area, rather than be sensible and build homes that can withstand tornadoes.

    We have similar issues with flooding in Canada, although not to the degree Huston is suffering now. Our flooding is generally caused by snow melting in spring and, in areas like Vancouver, that can be compounded by tidal issues. We have had to build extensive dykes along the Fraser River, nearer to the ocean, to prevent cities like Richmond from being under 4 feet of water when the river floods.

    In Winnipeg, in central Canada, they have had to invest in extensive flood control systems on the Red River, which runs right through Winnipeg.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_River_Floodway

    To me, centralized government is a no-brainer. Everyone chips in, which increases our taxes, but everyone benefits. The US seems to pride itself on minimal central government but that often results in disasters, either to the individual (no Medicare), or to the mass populace such as Houston is experiencing now.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      I might add, New Orleans faced the same issues with flooding from Katrina and they were totally unprepared for that kind of flooding. My understanding is that New Orleans has since taken steps to prepare. Was Houston not taking notes?

      Harvey may end up dumping a lot of rain on New Orleans.

      • Bo Darville says:

        Gordon,

        Your statement that “The US seems to pride itself on minimal central government” makes me wonder if you really understand our Constitution. It is not that we pride ourselves based on some cultural affinity, minimal central government was codified in the US Constitution, which explicitly grants LIMITED power to the Federal Government. All other PLENARY powers are held by the states.

        In the case of flood protection, why would it not make sense for the State of Texas to decide how to evaluate risk and provide these services? They understand their state, the risks their people are willing to take, and the costs associated with either prevention or rebuilding.

        Of course, over the past 100 years, we have grossly expanded the power of the Federal government (by driving a truck through the interstate commerce clause) and now have Federal agencies like FEMA that – arguably – encourage states not to spend money on prevention. After all, if we can declare a Federal emergency after the fact and bring in Federal tax dollars to rebuild, why prevent in the first place?

        Like so many others, I believe it is the strength of individual liberty and freedom FROM a centralized government that makes America unique and great. Unfortunately, we no longer have that freedom and the $3 TRILLION collected annually in Federal taxes (Income and Payroll) are not enough to pay for the behemoth that Washington politicians created.

        Of course, our founding fathers were smart enough to foresee it. During the Madison debates for ratifying the Constitution said presciently:

        “In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          Bo Darville…”In the case of flood protection, why would it not make sense for the State of Texas to decide how to evaluate risk and provide these services?”

          Bo…not taking shots at the US from afar. I appreciate what the US has done globally as an ally in pursuit of world law and order. I just wish the powers that be would get out of Trump’s way and let him get on with government business.

          I feel somewhat bemused, however, by your insistence on sticking to the Constitution rather than amending it to make it more suitable for modern US citizens. You guys seem to regard the Constitution as written is stone. After all, it was written initially to cover 13 states in the days when mail was delivered by Pony Express.

          You said…”In the case of flood protection, why would it not make sense for the State of Texas to decide how to evaluate risk and provide these services?”

          Texas appears to be notoriously thrifty when it comes to spending on such infrastructure. I take that to be the case since Texans resent spending taxes above what they consider a minimal amount. Even at that, tax dodging seems to be a sport in many parts of the US, especially among the corporate crowd.

          Even in Canada that’s the case. One Canadian businessman told me a while back me that if a businessman is paying taxes he is doing something wrong.

          • gbaikie says:

            “I feel somewhat bemused, however, by your insistence on sticking to the Constitution rather than amending it to make it more suitable for modern US citizens. You guys seem to regard the Constitution as written is stone. After all, it was written initially to cover 13 states in the days when mail was delivered by Pony Express.”

            Because US is united states. Federal govt is like EU.
            Texas has more GDP than Canada.
            I don’t think the State of Texas should fund a city needs.
            If you want to make some network involving multiple cities, that make sense of the State of Texas to be involved.

          • David Appell says:

            GDP is hardly the measure of all things.

            For example, the US GDP will get a big boost from all the rebuilding that will occur in Houston. Despite all the damage.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          Bo…”Of course, our founding fathers were smart enough to foresee it. During the Madison debates for ratifying the Constitution said presciently:…”

          Can’t argue with you on that. Even Eisenhower, in the 50’s, when he set in motion government grants for scientists predicted the abuse of the system. This entire mess over man-made global warming is driven by scientists seeking lucrative funding for telling lies.

          • David Appell says:

            Gordon Robertson says:
            “This entire mess over man-made global warming is driven by scientists seeking lucrative funding for telling lies.”

            You’re being a sore loser.

      • JohnD says:

        As I recall the flooding in NO was the result of levys (sp?) failing due to storm surge, not epic rain fall (reminder Much of NO is below sea level). Different types of apples. Short of greatly limiting development, beyond a certain point you just can not prepare for epic rain fall.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          JohnD…”As I recall the flooding in NO was the result of levys (sp?) failing due to storm surge…”

          No argument that was part of the problem, along with storm surges. Covered in detail here:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina

          A ruling was made that the levee failures were partly due to the lack of follow up to ensure they were able to do the job. Again, it comes down to a lack of preparedness. Even if you prepare for everything, something will go wrong, but hopefully not to the extent of Katrina’s damage, or what is taking place in Houston now.

    • dr No says:

      Gordon, you are talking sense for once.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        dr no…”Gordon, you are talking sense for once”.

        Thanks, doc…that’s major coming from you. ☺

    • David Appell says:

      Gordon Robertson says:
      “To me, centralized government is a no-brainer.”

      Texans disagree. And couldn’t care less what Canadians, fellow Americans or anyone else, think.

  21. Bo Darville says:

    Sorry…that quote was from Ben Franklin on Tuesday, September 17, 1787 during the Madison Debates, as noted.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      Bo d…”Sorrythat quote was from Ben Franklin….”

      Ben was pretty cool. Anyone who would fly a kite in an electrical storm as part of an experiment has my vote. I just wish some of the climate alarmists claiming an ice-free Arctic would go to the north Pole in February.

  22. To having a discussion about this topic is absurd.

  23. Beenal says:

    Mel the Commenter: “What concerns me, David, is the utterly-super-mobilization of every hyperbole in the English language, absolutely flooding us, drowning us, if you will, under an unprecedented inundation of extravagant metaphor.

    “It has become so bad, the metaphors flowing at such a pace that news-readers are being stretched to the breaking point like underbuilt earthen dams. Only today I noticed news readers having to pare down the classic “Rain of Biblical proportions,” locution to just, “Biblical rain.”

  24. Ross says:

    To Quote:

    CAGW is just a NWO political agenda for one world government. Houston apparently has become a hotbed for severe rain and flooding due to being near the Gulf where Tropical Storms/Hurricanes linger this time of year, being flat and near sea level with waterways going in every direction making it vulnerable to storm surges, heavy rain and flooding. Increase urbanisation increases flash flooding also more impermeable surfaces, under capacity drains and culverts, debris and roots, and concentrated flows.

    Okay.my opinion counts as much as anyone eleses.

    Such wingnuts exist even in some sincere Churches. A dangerous and puerile doctrine of conspiracy theory. This is rife in sectarian off springs like some outlier fundamentalist religions. Hannity along with Fox News will a have swing at it as well.

    There is more from Australias Hot Whopper:

    There’s more. The Heartland Institute pulled together a rabble of climate disinformers and offered their lies to the media (archived here). I cannot imagine any responsible journos taking them up on their offer.

    The Heartland Institute doesn’t “believe” the hurricane forecasts from the world’s best weather agencies. (I see that Anthony Watts doesn’t agree with them on that point, because he copied and pasted heaps of forecasts, which are of course, derived from models.) The Heartland press release stated: Hurricanes, like the other mechanisms, cannot usefully be modeled, even with the largest and most sophisticated climate models used by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Heartland offered a list of people they termed “Heartland Institute Experts”, which only goes to show that the Heartland Institute has no access to experts. Not only that, but they lied about some of the qualifications of their so-called “experts”. The press release referred to John Coleman as a “meteorologist”. He’s not. He’s a journalist and business person. It referred to Timothy Ball as a “Former Climatology Professor”. He’s not. He’s a former geography professor (teaching mainly, not research) and a current nutcase of a conspiracy theorist. Many of the other fake experts offered up had no qualification other than being a “policy advisor” to The Heartland Institute. A couple were listed as economists. Tom Harris, who gets his climate “expertise” from the bible and claims that climate science is a hoax, was included in the list as well.

    It’s wrong to regard climate science deniers as being harmless idiots. It’s not enough for them to deny, lie and play down the dangers of climate change. Not acting on climate change will cause a lot of death and destruction and ruin the livelihoods of many. It will also threaten world food supplies in future.

    As can be seen today, climate science deniers are a threat to people in the here and now. In the last day or so, prominent climate dis-informers have been playing down the dangers of Hurricane Harvey. Their motive seems to be, as always, because they want people to reject the fact and risks of climate change. Why they would want to downplay an immediate risk for ideology.

    This is based in a groundless theory of anti-liberalism and anti-leftist rhetoric that is both unfathomable and downright stupid.

  25. Monika says:

    I’m only a lowly historian, but in the humanities it has been acknowledged for some time now that we have been living in the anthropocene: https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/february-2017/getting-warmer-historians-on-climate-change-and-the-anthropocene
    Just last week we had an “unprecedented” event in Switzerland, when about 4 million cubic meters of rock broke out of a mountain and buried part of Bondo.
    Geologists say the cause is the melting of perma frost. Temperatures in Switzerland have risen almost 2°C over the last 150 years, which is about double the global average.
    It’s not that such events haven’t always happened, but that in our time we have a culmination and acceleration of such events.
    And since 2°C is such an abstract number, here you can see what happened to some glaciers in the Swiss Alps in just a few years: http://gletschervergleiche.ch/Pages/ImageCompare.aspx?Id=6
    In spring/summer the increased thawing of glaciers and perpetual snow and ice coupled with rain regularly leads to flooding in the lower regions of Switzerland…

  26. Mark - Helsinki says:

    What this storm shows is that the 12 year drought has caused complacency.

    We don’t plan for weather we know will happen eventually, instead, sit back and say “i eventually told you so” from the usual suspects.

    Katherine Hayhoe 2013 “Texas is in permanent drought cos of AGW”
    Katherine Hayhoe 2017 “Texas is getting so much rain cos of AGW”

    Michael E Mann is talking about pseudo meteorlogy again, the man is cluless about meteorology, yet is the first port of call for comments from all the usual eco drone journos

  27. dr No says:

    “At this point it doesnt look like any rain gage locations will break the record for total 24 hour rainfall in Texas, or possibly even for storm total rainfall, but to have so large an area having over 20 inches is very unusual.”

    I think Roy may have jumped the gun here. Let us wait until the event is over before dismissing it as just a rare, but not unexpected, event. He may have egg on face by Friday.

  28. dr No says:

    How about this for another “sign”:

    “The UK has experienced the hottest late-August bank holiday Monday on record, the Met Office has said, with much of the south and south-east recording above average temperatures and the mercury peaking at 28.2C at Holbeach in Lincolnshire.
    The previous record was 27.2C recorded in East Bergholt in Suffolk in 1984.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/28/uk-on-course-for-hottest-august-bank-holiday-monday-on-record

  29. ren says:

    Jetstream will still be holding Harvey in a trap.
    http://virga.sfsu.edu/gif/17082900_jetstream_h84.gif

  30. ren says:

    3-hour Precipitation Accumulation
    amount of precipitation over the next three hours.
    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/850hPa/overlay=precip_3hr/orthographic=-94.91,28.42,3000

  31. Roy, you say there is no aspect of climate change theory that predicts the stalling. But there is. “The stalling is due to very weak prevailing winds, which are failing to steer the storm off to sea, allowing it to spin around and wobble back and forth. This pattern, in turn, is associated with a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system over much of the US at the moment, with the jet stream pushed well to the north. This pattern of subtropical expansion is predicted in model simulations of human-caused climate change” . Source: Michael Mann in the Guardian.

  32. ren says:

    Soon the solar wind will accelerate again, as a corona hole runs right in front of Earth. The jet stream will remain in the north.

  33. barry says:

    Dr Spencer wrote:

    Roger Pielke Jr. has pointed out that the U.S. has had only four Category 4 (or stronger) hurricane strikes since 1970, but in about the same number of years preceding 1970 there were 14 strikes. So we cant say that we are experiencing more intense hurricanes in recent decades.

    By “we”, Dr Spencer is talking about the USA. As the projections he is implicitly criticising do not include location, his criticism via Pielke is off the mark. A goal post shift.

    Falsely conflating US landfalling hurricanes with (IPCC) projections is disappointing. Particularly since Dr Spencer appears to be aware of such false representations.

    “There is no aspect of global warming theory that says rain systems are going to be moving slower, as we are seeing in Texas. This is just the luck of the draw. Sometimes weather systems stall, and that sucks if you are caught under one.”

    Quite.

    There is no aspect of global warming theory that says hurricanes will make landfall in the US more or less often.

    As a non-US citizen, how should I take the side-lining of other countries who have been hit by Cat 3+ Atlantic hurricanes in recent years? The premise of the implied criticism is not only false, but also blind to anything happening outside the US.

    • THE TRPOICAL CYCLONE INDEX(ACE) FOR THE GLOBE IS TRENDING DOWN WHICH TELLS THE STORY OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS.

      • David Appell says:

        ACE is the absolute worst metric for hurricanes, since it does not include storm size.

        A baseball traveling at 100 mph has the same ACE as a hurricane with max winds of 100 mph. Think about that.

    • barry says:

      No need to shout. Last I looked there was little trend in hurricane intensity overall, but slight trends in high intensity hurricanes.

      And it’s worth getting specific. Dr Spencer only ever talks about Atlantic hurricanes (and only those that make US landfall). If I remember correctly, projections are about global hurricanes/cyclones.

      By all means link to something with some detail.

      • No Barry the Ace index which is a measure of total tropical cyclonic activity is way down.

      • barry says:

        That’s only for the Atlantic region. (Links failed on the tabs for the other regions)

        Here is an ACE time series for global hurricanes/cyclones.

        http://models.weatherbell.com/tropical/global_major_freq.png

        As you can see, there is quite a bit of variation, but no real trend for cyclonic intensity.

        Whereas for intense hurricanes (>96 knot wind speed) there is a slight upward trend.

        You should approve of the website this information comes from.

        http://models.weatherbell.com/tropical.php

        • Good data. We can agree thus far there is no increase in these kind of storms, it seems the same overall.

        • barry says:

          You’re reading the data differently to me. At the top I see no trend in hurricanes above 64 knots wind speed, but the bottom series of hurricanes above 96 knots has an upward trend.

          • correct with no real change when the two are combined.

          • Unfortunately Barry is right. The amount of major hurricanes category 3 or higher have been on an increase due to the recent warming trend over the past few decades. Although the Atlantic has been quieter over the past few years then it normally would the pacific is roaring like crazy with a record breaking active season in the Godzilla El Nio year of 2015/2016. Extreme events like this have been on the increase. The amount of floods has been on the increase. All extreme weather has seen a ramp up in activity especially over these past few years. It’s called climate change. But it is a natural driven phenomenon that man is not responsible for and cannot change. The climate is only going to get worse and weather will get weirder going into the 2020s and 2030s. Perhaps even the next few years. Climate change is real and is a dangerous thing that is happening but we are not 100% responsible for it, Mother Nature is. There are deniers and the opposite extreme that blame man kind for this climate change era. I am not on neither side of this. It is funny watchifn people go back and fourth for days on end on whether climate change is getting worse and if we are responsible for it. I sit back eat popcorn and laugh my butt off at these lunutics who don’t look deep enough into the science on why Climate change is happening and who is causing it and where it is headed in the near future. I have my own theories on why the earth climate is shifting. I suggest you do more research before trying to disprove others on whether extreme weather events such as hurricanes are getting worse due to climate change

          • M North says:

            Oh my God, the sky is falling !!!….
            Oh, ..wait….. that’s just rain hahaha
            Better click your ruby shoed heels together and wish yourself back to Kansas….oh wait, they have NATURAL disasters out there too called tornados…. they just started having bad ones of those too within the last 20 years, right? ….
            …….are they a result of man made ‘climate change’ ?…..maybe Hillary Clunton’s campaign loss was due to climate change, because that was man made too……ah, so nice to have one answer to all the questions in the world LOL….you climate change folk are laughable….a real joke !!!

          • M north if you want to keep being a climate change denier ignoring the evidence of climate change then be my guest. Climate change is happening. It is in front of our faces now. I am not saying man is responsible for this change like most of the left wing conspiracy theorist say nor do I point to any evidence whatsoever of catastrophic warming in the near future. I look at past cycles of climate change and use those as a baseline of what will happen with The climate in the near future. If you want to know what’s going to happen in the future look at what happened in the past. History repeats. Back in the 1800s there were food riots and mass starvations due to climate change. The sun was in a state of hibernation then and that is what’s happening now like clockwork every 200 years or so. Do more research on what happened in the past. Four seasons in one day. Ring a bell? That’s what’s about to happen as we plunge into a deep solar hibernation. Unfortunately the media continues to shove man made global warming propaganda down our throats refusing to touch the evidence of a grand solar minimum with a 50 foot pole by all means. They will keep at it until they are blue in the face and by then the shit will have hit the fan and unfortunately it will be too late. You need to prepare now. YouTube channels such as ice age farmer, the grand solar minimum channel and adapt 2030 are good starts. I suggest you have an open mind and at least try to look into what im telling you is about to occur. Good day.

          • John l casey is one of the best sources to go for as far as climate change goes. He is one of the best predictors of climate change at least in the country if not the world. I suggest you start with him first before you do anything else. His predictions for climate change have been pretty spot on for the past 10 years. DO NOT EVER rely on the iPCC NASA NOAA and other governmental agenicies for any climate info. They have all been majorly wrong and have an agenda to keep alive.

          • You can purchase johns book dark winter and upheavel on Amazon. Dark winter was a best seller in Amazon of all the climate change books for the year 2015. Very good books even for the average street person to understand. Crucial and to the point. Highly recommended

          • barry says:

            They are already combined in the top line (+64 knots and above). The bottom line isolates the intensest hurricanes. Frequency of >96 knot hurricanes increased by 46% from 1970-2011 (the most recent data I was able to gather).

          • barry says:

            Looks like my memory works (grin).

        • barry says:

          Weatherbell provide time series data for hurricane frequency at different intensities, but it only goes up to mid-2012. So I took only complete years, 1970-2011, and regressed to see the strength of the positive trend for the most intense hurricanes (>96 know wind speed).

          The result is that there is a 46% increase, globally, of hurricanes of that intensity from 1979-2011. They, however, historically rare events. Some years have none at all globally.

      • barry says:

        Note that ACE for the Atlantic region per your link has an upward trend over the whole time span, with lower ACE in recent years. That accords with the long-term view at Weatherbell for the region.

        [Correction: My first link was not to an ACE time series, but time series of hurricanes above 64 knots wind speed (top) and above 96 knots (bottom). It does suggest that either high intensity hurricanes are becoming more frequent world wide, or that the number of hurricanes is unchanging, but have increased in intensity. This would show as a rise in the number of very high intensity hurricanes/cyclones]

  34. ren says:

    Hurricane releases a lot of heat to the tropopause.
    http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2017/anoma.8.28.2017.gif

  35. Gras Albert says:

    Never in the field of meteorology has so much fail been propagated by so few.

    All weather is driven by the temperature gradient between the equator and the poles.

    It is known from observations that mean temperature at the poles is rising much faster than mean temperature at the equator.

    The temperature gradient between the equator and the poles is therefore declining, therefore the potential energy available to drive weather systems is declining.

    Observed global warming means less ‘weather’ not more.

    Isn’t it is astonishing how often alarmists make a fool of themselves!

  36. Winston Bela says:

    All of this fine and well document set of comments going in every which direction just tells me that on the whole, we as a collective set of interested and quite often well educated persons, have absolutely no friggin idea of all the factors that really drive the climate. It is a formula of too many variables.

    • barry says:

      With all these variables it’s amazing how often I correctly predict that Summer will be warmer than Winter.

      • Mike Flynn says:

        barry,

        That’s nearly as brilliant as “predicting” that the Sun will rise tomorrow!

        Can you “predict” anything useful? No?

        I thought not! Maybe you should become a Warmist – providing no benefit to man or beast whatsoever.

        Cheers.

      • M North says:

        Wait til the magnetic pole shift, everything reverses, be very scared, it’s gonna happen again sometime in the next 50 million years….
        How come no one every cites the massive earthquake that occurred in Chile a couple of years ago that actually shifted the earths axis like 3 degrees as a reason? Plate tectonics are the real reason behind this crazy weather we’re having !! Blame it on the dinosaurs…….if they didn’t die off we wouldn’t have fossil fuels, thus no CO2 emissions, right? If the dinosaurs lived on, humans would have never evolved from apes and climbed down the trees, and became hominids in the Golden Crescent, right?
        …I’m blaming this storm on the dinosaurs !!!!

    • barry says:

      Mike,

      Thats nearly as brilliant as predicting that the Sun will rise tomorrow!

      Maybe you missed the point. The claim that there are too many factors influencing climate to predict it is belied by seasonal change. All you need is a dominant influence.

      Someone living permanently underground with no experience of seasons could predict it just from statistical analysis. Give them a bit of physics and they’d also know why it’s happening without ever once having experienced Summer and Winter.

      The underlying fallacy is: because we don’t know everything, we know nothing.

      • Mike Flynn says:

        barry,

        I don’t think I missed the point at all.

        You wrote –

        “With all these variables its amazing how often I correctly predict that Summer will be warmer than Winter.”

        You made a fatuous statement. Any reasonably normal 12 year old can make the same assumption, which has the same utility as yours – none at all!

        As I implied, a completely useless piece of nonsense masquerading as useful information. Even the IPCC stated that prediction of future climate states is impossible. Maybe you want to characterise the IPCC as a group of demented clowns for acknowledging reality?

        Climate is the average of weather which has already occurred – nothing more, nothing less. Look at the IPCC or WMO if you don’t believe me.

        Warmists are lead by a steadily shrinking group of delusional psychotics, with not a first rate mind amongst them. The intellectual prowess of their followers is ably demonstrated by your comments.

        Cheers.

      • barry says:

        Nope, you didn’t get the point at all.

        Even the IPCC stated that prediction of future climate states is impossible.

        What they said was – precise predictions are not possible, but probability distribution estimates for future climate states is the proper focus.

        That’s why, for example, ECS has a value range, rather than a single value.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          barry,

          From the IPCC –

          “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

          Maybe they put in some weasel words afterwards, to lessen the pain inflicted by telling their mindless acolytes the truth. I don’t know. Do you think the head of the IPCC lied when he stated “The science is settled?”

          The “ECS” is a figment of delusional imagination. Nobody has ever managed to raise the temperature of a thermometer by placing more CO2 between it and a source of heat. Only a foolish Warmist would believe such nonsense.

          Cheers.

          • David Appell says:

            Mike Flynn says:
            May 23, 2017 at 5:16 PM
            I hate to bore you the real science, but the transmittance of the atmosphere increases as the amount of GHGs in it drops.

            http://www.drroyspencer.com/2017/05/uah-global-temperature-update-for-april-2017-0-27-deg-c/#comment-247988

          • barry says:

            The ECS is a figment of delusional imagination. Nobody has ever managed to raise the temperature of a thermometer by placing more CO2 between it and a source of heat. Only a foolish Warmist would believe such nonsense.

            Are you sure you are not Gordon Robertson?

          • Mike Flynn says:

            David Appell,

            Of course it does. The less GHG in the atmosphere, the more sunlight gets through. Hence, the highest temperatures in the world are found under the driest (least GHG) atmospheres.

            The less GHG, the hotter it gets.

            Your chance to fire off the usual mindless questions? Go for it!

            Nobody has managed to raise the temperature of a thermometer with a GHG. Except in foolish Warmist fantasies, of course.

            Cheers.

        • barry says:

          Maybe they put in some weasel words afterwards, to lessen the pain inflicted by telling their mindless acolytes the truth.

          It’s a funny old thing. when you point out the full text on some cherry-picked quote, the complainant always tries to wave away the rest in some fantastical prose. Never occurs to the boofheads that if the rest of the text is lying that they shouldn’t trust any of it.

          But no, they read what they like and decide that’s the only good part. Funny how the god parts are always only the parts they like.

          I dont know. Do you think the head of the IPCC lied when he stated “The science is settled?”

          Depends what he/she was talking about. Some of the science is settled, some is are not.

          Settled science: The globe is warmer now than it was 100 years ago.

          Not settled science: Hurricane frequency will increase/decrease/stay the same if the globe continues to warm.

          • Mike Flynn says:

            barry,

            Let’s not cherry-pick, then

            Settled science – the Earth is cooler than it was at creation. No longer molten, even. Settled science indicates that a mainly molten Earth sized blob of rock, at about the mean distance of the Earth from the Sun, will cool.

            Heat some iron to white heat, put it in full sunlight, and you will find it cools. Even boiling water cools in sunlight, regardless of how much GHG you surround it with.

            As to the IPCC, even delusional psychotics get some things right some of the time, I suppose.

            Still no GHE or ECS. None.

            Cheers.

          • barry says:

            A trail of meandering associations. Try to focus on what the discussion is about. You can do it. I believe in you.

      • barry says:

        Mike, WRT to seasonal climate change, there’s a good analogy for what the IPCC is saying in the TAR (2001) quote.

        No one can in Winter predict what the precise temperature of a given day will be in Summer. But in Winter one can confidently predict the likelihood that a particularly day in Summer will be warmer than Winter.

        In some places, there are few days in Summer that are colder than some other days in Winter. But the probability distribution is different. The climate state has changed, so warmer days are far more likely to occur than colder in Summer than in Winter.

        The seasonal analogy is very useful, because it’s something we all intuit quite well from experience. The same caveat applies as in the IPCC quote. we can’t say what the weather will be like on a given day in Summer, but we know the probability distribution, both from physics and statistics.

        • Mike Flynn says:

          barry,

          I know foolish Warmists resort to pointless and irrelevant analogies when unable to provide facts.

          What’s your point? A childish assumption that seasons recur “proves” the IPCC members are not a bunch of ignorant dunderheads? The seasons occur for physical reasons involved the Earths inclination and the fact that it orbits the Sun in an ellipse. Not a lot of mystery there.

          If your brilliant insight into “climatology” is based on what any child can observe, you’d be in good company. Foolish Warmist company, of course.

          Climate is the average of past weather events, no more, no less. GHGs heat nothing – never have, never will. Sad but true. Settled science.

          Cheers.

        • barry says:

          The seasons occur for physical reasons involved the Earths inclination and the fact that it orbits the Sun in an ellipse. Not a lot of mystery there.

          5/10. The first part is right, the second a very minor modulation.

          But it will do to demonstrate the point that, contrary to the claim posted at the start of this thread:

          [We] have absolutely no friggin idea of all the factors that really drive the climate. It is a formula of too many variables.

          You may have forgotten by now, but that was the point I addressed. Despite “all the factors that really drive climate” even during the seasons, we understand some mechanisms very well.

          And you’ve gone to even further trouble to reinforce this point by pointing to settled science on the Earth’s temperature during its creation.

          We could also mention the orbitally driven ice age shifts, which is fairly settled science, too, at least in terms of the triggering mechanism.

          My point was that just because we don’t know everything, that doesn’t mean we know nothing. Thank you for your assistance on this.

  37. ren says:

    On September 1st the weather pattern will change and the jetstream will direct the low at north.
    http://files.tinypic.pl/i/00928/22mzt78rrus4.png

  38. Mark says:

    You cannot respond to millions of articles of scientific data with “weird stuff happens” you fucking clown

    • SkepticGoneWild says:

      Forgot to take your meds I see.

      • Martin says:

        You cannot respond to millions of articles of scientific data with “Forgot to take your meds I see.” you fucking clown

    • M North says:

      But you can respond to someone with actual intelligence with ‘you fucking clown’ ! They’re called mirrors, bub…..stopping looking into then and spouting your mouth off

    • M Wright says:

      I would love a link to a credible scientist with any kind of remotely relevant qualification claiming the effects of this storm are a result of man-made global warming or climate change (if you prefer).

  39. ren says:

    On September 1st the weather pattern will change and the jetstream will direct the low at north over Texas.
    https://earth.nullschool.net/#2017/09/02/0600Z/wind/isobaric/850hPa/orthographic=-91.82,33.55,1806

  40. John says:

    Is it possible that the warming in the gulf is due to ever-increasing nitrate runoff from Midwest agriculture? Or is it definitely due to AGW?

  41. You write that the December 1935 flood topped out at Buffalo Bayou at 54.4 feet. But this report from 1937 seems to suggest that it topped out at 2 am on December 9 at 60.8 feet (p280, table 12). Am I reading this table wrong?

  42. Lisa says:

    I am confused about what money is being made promoting climate change. Can you share where that money is going?

  43. Lisa says:

    It seems more money is being lost to coal, oil, and big Agri by asking for a push toward clean energy. Climate change doesn’t appear to turn much profit from where I’m looking.

  44. Dan says:

    Those screaming that the sky is falling don’t even understand themselves what they say. One article says this is equivalent to a 1,000-year flood. Well, guess what? Every 1,000 years or so, you’re going to have a 1,000-year flood. By definition. That doesn’t mean some freak occurrence or that man’s interference has caused it; it means that statistically, every 1,000 years or so, the “perfect storm” set of circumstances will fall together and cause the worst flood seen in 1,000 years.

    • David Appell says:

      When were the last three times Houston had a 1000-yr flood (or worse)?

    • M North says:

      That’s funny, because as a civil engineer with extensive hydrologic experience, worst case scenarios are only cited at 500 year storms, who invented the ‘1,000 year storm’ phenomenom?

    • barry says:

      Dan, a 1000 year flood refers only to probability, not to frequency.

      It’s the probability of intensity of flooding in any year – 0.1% in this case.

      Likewise, a ‘500 year flood’ has a 0.2% probability of occurring in any given year. And a ‘100 year flood’ is a 1% probability.

      What it doesn’t mean is that this kind of flooding happens once every 1000 years. You could have 2 ten years apart, and then not another for 1500 years, for example.

      Like cards and dice, knowing the odds doesn’t tell you what will be flipped or when.

  45. Tiar MacFee says:

    When was the last time Houston was hit by a “500-year” flood? Harvey is the third such flood in the last three years. Another struck less than 20 years ago, in 2001, when Tropical Storm Allison killed 22, stranded 30,000 residents, and wreaked $9 billion in damage.

  46. Arturo Ramirez says:

    I follow both sides of the climate debate, from a rather science-based mind-set. Larry Teig believes passionately that he correctly read and understood the threads that Roy Spencer wove together in his piece. Unfortunately, Larry’s passion may have wittingly or unwittingly blocked an objective reading of what Roy wrote and the points he was making. Larry’s bigoted, absolutist dismissal of Roy and his commentary displays that Larry is ideologically, but clearly not intellectually, all-in with the tribe that quit thinking, or perhaps never did think wholistically, about this most complex of subject matter. Once all-in, an absolutist can no longer allow any subsequent new daylight or learning, or even just openmindedness, into the equation because by definition it causes the existing absolutist religion to collapse upon its own logic. The most destructive factor preventing an intelligent national dialogue on climate change, a dialogue that all thinking people should want, is that reasonable people are holding a fulsome appreciation for the complexity, false negatives adn false positives, and hold higher standards of proof than do the emotionally committed Luddites of the ‘settled science’ tribe.

  47. M North says:

    I am guessing Larry that you are probably a tenured college professor somewhere in NE (where I live) teaching Anthropology. What the author is trying to say is that random weather events happen at random locations at random times. As a highway construction inspection who doubles as the project environmental specialist, uncontrolled development creating unmanageable runoff from impervious surfaces, and the fact that the natural topography out in eastern Texas is flat, flooding of this nature was inevitable. Learn about science and engineering before you bash it, else go hang your hat down at the Student Union and coddle the SJW snowflakes assembled there crying out about global warming….a myth, just like your implied intelligence !

  48. bruce rubin says:

    please sign me up for your blog updates

  49. M Wright says:

    It stalled because it ran into a high pressure system. Do you think the high pressure was caused by global warming? Maybe it’s Boyle’s Law! We are reaching new levels of absurdity in this debate.

  50. Martin says:

    Regarding the 1935 flooding Dr Spencer wrote:

    In December of 1935 a massive flood occurred in the downtown area as the water level height measured at Buffalo Bayou in Houston topped out at 54.4 feet. By way of comparison, as of 6:30 a.m. this (Monday) morning, the water level in the same location is at 38 feet, which is still 16 feet lower than in 1935.

    Now compare this to whats written in the following article: https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/harvey-houston-most-extreme-rains-ever-major-us-city

    From the article:
    The biggest concern for central Houston is now the dual Addicks and Barker Reservoir system, which was designed and built in the 1940s for water levels expected to occur on average once every 1,000 years. Water began flowing around the north side of the Addicks dam and onto an spillway on Tuesday morning, the first uncontrolled release of water in the reservoirs history.

    To me it seems reasonable that the difference in water level height between 1935 and 2017 at Buffalo Bayou could be due to these reservoirs. I think it is even more likely the flooding is much worse now and over a larger area. It is however always difficult to know how the urbanization etc plays into this so it is hard to quantify.

    BUT, from this we learn that it is always dangerous to cherry-pick cases without the full context. A skeptical scientist should always try to contextualize claims. Unfortunately my feeling is that Dr Spencer only gives context from one side of the issue, which is not what a real skeptical scientist would do.

    • barry says:

      That seems like an even-handed comment to me. And not just because I agree with it.

      Control factors. Tricky business.

    • garyH845 says:

      Additional, one might need to consider that Houston has had major subsidence since it was settled. In this report, “Houston is sinking,” we learn that the downtown area has subsided some 6-7 feet since 1891 (would have subsided prior to that as well – as draining the swamp began in the 1030’s?

      To the East of downtown, it’s as much as 10 feet. Graphic on the link.

      Here’s article: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/houston-is-sinking-8528452

      Here’s graphic: images1.houstonpress.com/imager/u/blog/8528458/houstonsubsidence2013web.jpg

      • David Appell says:

        This subsidence is from pumping out groundwater and aquifers collapsing. So it also has an anthropogenic explanation.

      • Martin J says:

        Hi Gary, yes I would likely agree that subsidence might have a role. But isnt that more a problem related to sea level rise and not to when the water comes from above, i.e. through rain?

        I understand that when an area has subsided, rain-water from other less subsided areas around it will flow into it and cause worse flooding. But this likely depends strongly on the topography of the area and on other paths the water might take.

        However, if rains fall over a large area that has the same amount of subsidence everywhere, then the rain will not cause a higher level of flooding, right? The flooding level is measured from the ground level at that particular site irrespective if the land has subsided or not. Or am I missing something? Huston downtown area is quite large according to the image you provided and the subsidence is uniform in a large part of it. But it would of course still accept a lot of water from areas around it with less subsidence.

        It should however be noted that the 54 feet mentioned by Dr Spencer was at Buffalo Bayou close to the city centre but land subsidence is actually even greater closer to the sea according to your image. So more water would then flow from the Bayou towards the sea, right? Furthermore I am assuming Huston city centre is already at lower level than surrounding inland areas so would still accept water from those places even without subsidence, although at a reduced rate. The flow-rate is definitely an important factor though so the subsidence effect could anyhow make a contribution.

        All in all it seems very difficult to quantify exactly the relative contributions of various factors. But my main take-home message would be:
        if a scientist only presents arguments on one side and dont at least try to be objective and mention other aspect counter to the argument, then he/she is not a skeptical scientist that is interested in understanding the full context. No-one is perfect though so occasional slip-ups will always happen, but for some people it is obvious if you follow them over time that they are not being very skeptical in the true sense of the word. Of course this applies to both sides of the issue.

        PS. Changed my name here to Martin J since there appears to be another Martin commenting on this blog that uses a language and tone that is not very constructive. Hope I dont have multiple personality disorder. 🙂 DS

        • garyH845 says:

          Martin – “no’ to everything that you said. Consider. It’s still a bathtub effect, even if it’s not below sea level. Storm water accumulation is not going to accumulate to the same depth, and is going to run off much faster if this area were back at it’s original elevation – 6-10 feet higher – to the ocean (or bayou draining to the ocean).

  51. ABSURDITY – HARVEY/AGW CONNECTION.

    What a joke.

    • garyH845 says:

      Indeed; however, those are not the words they are using. You can have a discussion/argument with someone saying that this bit of additional GW caused by man could be having a contribution to such storm systems.

      They’re saying . . ‘Climate change means that when we do have an event like Harvey, the rainfall amounts are likely to be higher than they would have been otherwise, the UN organisations spokeswoman Clare Nullis told a conference.’

      That’s a new definition for, ‘climate change.’

    • barry says:

      Statements on such a connection can be legitimate when including probability, rather than outright assertion. No one can predict the weather years in advance, but a different climate has different probability distribution. This is completely obvious when thinking of seasonal climate change. Can’t say what the exact average temperature the middle week of Summer will be, but we can speak with confidence of the likelihood it will be 4C to 8C warmer than the middle week of Winter.

      • Mike Flynn says:

        barry,

        Gavin Schmidt (undistinguished mathematician, non scientist, supposed “climatologist”) –

        “2014 – hottest year EVAH!” (With a probability of 38%, from memory.)

        Very confident, very stupid, and completely useless. Climatology at it’s finest! At least it’s good for a laugh. Can you provide anything useful? (The widely observed assumption that Winter will likely be cooler than Summer doesn’t require any deep scientific understanding – even birds fly to warmer climes as Winter approaches, on occasion.)

        Got any other deep insights you’d like to share?

        Cheers.

        • Bindidon says:

          Gavin Schmidt (undistinguished mathematician, non scientist, supposed climatologist)

          Quite as the Robertson troll, Flynn is a quickie in discrediting qualification and work of others, but of course without presenting any proof of what he spits.

          ‘Pfui Deibel’, Bavarian people would answer to such courageous hit under the belt.

          I cite Wikipedia concerning Gavin Schmidt:

          He was educated at The Corsham School, earned a BA (Hons) in mathematics at Jesus College, Oxford, and a PhD in applied mathematics at University College London.

          How do you, Mr Flynn, compare e.g. with this?

          https://www.giss.nasa.gov/staff/gschmidt/

          Did you ever contribute anywhere to anywhat? Feel free to inform us…

          • SkepticGoneWild says:

            NASA GISS’s original purpose was to “perform basic research in space sciences in support of Goddard Space Flight Center programs.” Hansen hijacked NASA GISS, changing its purpose to bogus climate change research nonsense.

            Gavin continues the bastardization of NASA GISS. Schmidt has no science education at all. He’s a mathematician. We already know 1+1=2.

            Schmidt should be fired, and replaced with a new director well educated in a field like Astrophysics (what a concept!), returning NASA GISS to its intended purpose. All NASA GISS climate scientists should be fired as well.

          • SkepticGoneWild says:

            Furthermore, Gavin refused a climate change debate with Dr. Roy Spencer in 2013. He ran away with his tail between his legs. No wonder. Schmidt is a science ignoramus.

          • Bindidon says:

            SkepticGoneWild

            I have read enough such arrogant, redundant blah blah at WUWT, many thanks.

        • barry says:

          He’s like the boor at a party who takes a cue from anything you say to talk about themselves.

  52. Olof R says:

    Dr Spencer’s attempt to downplay the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey was obviously written too early.

    The maximum multi-day rain recording was 51.88 inches, not 39.7
    http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/discussions/nfdscc1.html

    The water level in Buffalo Bayou is 62.7 feet and still rising, a lot more than those 54.4 in 1935 that Dr Spencer highlights in this post.
    http://www.khou.com/weather/hurricanes/hurricane-harvey/controlled-release-of-barker-addicks-reservoirs-to-impact-thousands/468348109

    Also, back in 1935 there were no large Barker and Addicks reservoirs, made to contain excess rainwater and dampen flow and water levels downstream..

    However, I guess that Dr Spencer as usual will dodge the subject, since reality busted his claims..

  53. pochas94 says:

    compelling evidence for increased flooding at a global scale is lacking.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/08/31/flooding-not-increasing-in-north-america-and-europe-new-study-confirms/

    There is overwhelming consensus that the intensity of heavy precipitation events is increasing in a warming world [but] only in the most extreme cases, for smaller catchments, do increases in precipitation at higher temperatures correspond to increases in streamflow.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08481-1

    On balance, I think there is cause to believe that with ocean temperatures remaining relatively warm the oceans will continue to humidify the atmosphere, but with land temperatures falling more rapidly the increased temperature contrast will cause more intense precipitation events in the near future.

    • barry says:

      compelling evidence for increased flooding at a global scale is lacking.

      Yes, while there has been an increase in flooding trends, it is statistically possible that the trend is due to chance alone.

      “The overall occurrence of major floods in Europe from 1961 to 2010 increased, but not significantly, based on floods at 559 gauges (Fig. 3). The overall occurrence of major floods at 645 gauges in North America changed very little over this period. For the period 19312010, the overall occurrence of major floods in Europe (128 gauges) changed very little whilst floods increased overall in North America (194 gauges) but not significantly except for 25 year floods (Fig. 4).”

      As noted in the comments at WUWT, failure to disprove the null does not therefore prove the null. Nothing definite can be said at this point.

      Physically, though, one would expect worse flooding on coastlines with sea level rise. But that’s tied to trends in precipitation, which, if downward, might offset the effect of shallower run-off gradient. (The study controlled for urban development) As you note, heavier rainfall events are on the increase.

      Conclusion: we might expect to see greater flooding, but current evidence of increase is not statistically significant.

      but with land temperatures falling more rapidly

      To what does this refer? Land temps have risen over time faster than SSTs.

      • pochas94 says:

        Refers to expected cooling trend due to lower solar activity. Cooling oceans would lag cooling land masses. I don’t believe Dr. Spencer would think this significant.

    • barry says:

      I’m a bit quizzical about Europe and the US being a proxy for ‘global.’ That’s a fraction of one hemisphere. Reminds me of early ‘global’ temp records of the 80s, with the vast majority of weather station data coming from the same two places. The profile changed when the Southern Hemispheric weather station data was later added. However, the results are of a piece with the latest IPCC report on global flooding trends, which point is made clearly in the paper.

  54. Frank Lister says:

    Belief allows you to be right; in your mind. Evidence works in a completely different way.
    Cause and effect are not dependent on people’s opinions, beliefs, wishful thinking or denial. Fact. We have increased the atmospheric carbon in the last 200 years. This is the cause. The effects will be greater instability in weather patterns. Our lives are dependent on predictable, reliable, stable seasonal crops. It is prudent to therefore begin reducing our CO2 emissions. Your help would be appreciated.

  55. Steve Barnard says:

    Do you contend that Al Gore’s photographic evidence as shown in the first film was fake or doctored? What are your thoughts concerning the ozone having holes burned due to the white reflective glacier surface being melted and leaving dark water to absorb the suns heat?

  56. oscar g says:

    I’m disappointed Trump wasn’t blamed.!!

  57. MScott says:

    Since the 1920’s the ground level in areas around Houston have dropped up to 12 feet. The Houston Chronicle lays out the historic effects of subsidence and flooding in an article in 2016. And yes it was due in large part to human activity.
    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/For-years-the-Houston-area-has-been-losing-ground-7951625.php

  58. Jim B says:

    Doesn’t basic physic show our earth should be near 60 degrees colder and also we should be trending colder than hot based on the same science? Also noticed you didn’t focus on the winds – why was this? Seems you are leaving out many of the important pieces to the real discussion points to validate a half baked perception..

  59. Arthur ǘ Ϙ says:

    Thanks dear nice topic Regards, Brian

  60. pjvrzzrzr says:

    Why Houston Flooding Isnt a Sign of Climate Change Roy Spencer, PhD
    apjvrzzrzr
    [url=http://www.g606de2plw50zmaxl1785xw47v6512os.org/]upjvrzzrzr[/url]
    pjvrzzrzr http://www.g606de2plw50zmaxl1785xw47v6512os.org/