News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

California drought not linked to human caused climate change says NOAA scientist Dr. Martin Hoerling-Dot Earth, Revkin

3/6/14, "A Climate Analyst Clarifies the Science Behind California’s Water Woes," NY Times, Dot Earth, Andrew Revkin

"On February 14, Mr. Obama suggested climate change as an explanation for the area’s drought....
Is this drought something we’ve seen before, the result of natural variability?... Is one of the drivers the growing human influence on the climate?... 

In the wake of an unusual public debate on this issue between President Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, and Roger Pielke, Jr., a longtime analyst of climate-related disaster losses at the University of Colorado, I received a helpful note from Martin Hoerling, who studies climate extremes for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Hoerling’s conclusions echo those of another longtime student of western drought, Richard Seager of Columbia University, as reported in Justin Gillis’s recent news report on the issue. “I’m pretty sure the severity of this thing is due to natural variability,” Seager told Gillis.

Here’s Hoerling’s note:

"The California drought and its relation to climate change seems to be an issue deserving more discussion. You may have read some of the exchange between Roger Pielke, Jr., and John Holdren regarding the issue of the California drought, and the possible role of climate change. You may have also have read the Joe Romm post [on Climate Progress].

To say that there is interest to know if the California drought is appreciably related to human induced climate change is an understatement just from reading these rather acidic exchanges. 

It is surprising to me when the government’s chief scientist feels compelled to respond…to the remarks of a single university professor, Roger Pielke, Jr., on that subject [as cited by a Senate subcommittee]. 
Andy, I've been engaged in understanding this drought event, having just returned from Sacramento where I briefed a group of water managers and emergency responders on the drought. [The event: "California Drought Outlook Forum: What's Ahead and What We Can Do."]

This drought has many of the attributes of past historical droughts over the region — widespread lack of storms and rainfall that would normally enter the region from the Pacific with considerable frequency. It resembles the 1975-76 and 1976-77 California droughts, when two consecutive years were at least as dry as the last two years have been for the state as a whole.

The bottom line is that this type of drought has been observed before. And, to state the obvious, this drought has occurred principally due to a lack of rains, not principally due to warmer temperatures.

This may seem pretty obvious (and trivial) from simple inspection of historical observations, and indeed this drought is quite familiar to anyone who lived in California during the mid-1970s, as I did.

But the obligations for water have greatly increased in the state, and it may very well be that the stress created by the current failed rains is more severe than for similar rainfall deficits 40 years earlier. Without making a strong claim, it is at least intuitive that sociological and economic changes in California could be reducing resiliency to natural hazards, like drought. Such points have been made in many contexts regarding natural hazards and changes in human society — quite clearly and defensibly by Roger Pielke, Jr. — and this California situation may be in that same spirit.

Concerning the “debate” highlighted by the above exchanges between Pielke and Holdren, the issue isn't about analogues to past droughts (which, by the way, the California resource managers were more interested in), but about the scientific evidence that California droughts have become more severe due to climate change.
To the extent that precipitation is key, it can be said with high confidence that there is no trend toward either wetter or drier conditions for statewide average precipitation since 1895, so that has not likely been a player. But there are other indicators, and aspects of rainfall behavior that could be conducive to drought, even if the mean seasonal rainfall isn’t changing. What is the evidence there?

The argument hinges mostly on temperature and how it may be affecting water resources. (Never mind, by the way, that the farmers and water managers are praying to the heavens for rain, not for cooler temperatures, to bust their drought!).

A way of integrating the effects of temperature on drought is to examine soil moisture time series. 

These have been assessed (based on simulations with sophisticated land models), the results of which are summarized by the IPCC (2012) report on extreme events (for which this drought qualifies). The Palmer Drought index and simple counts of consecutive dry days have also been diagnosed. That latest 2012 report, (the so-called SREX report) in their Table 3-2 examines the evidence for regional changes since 1950, and makes the following assessment of these various indicators for western North America:

No overall or slight decrease in dryness since 1950; large variability; large drought of the 1930s dominate.”

The team of 42 authors assigned a “Medium Confidence” to that assessment. The report’s team in Table 3-3 then goes on to assess the scientific evidence for how drought in this region will change in the 21st century. They write: 

Inconsistent signal in consecutive dry days and soil moisture changes,” to which they assign a low confidence.

It is quite clear that the scientific evidence does not support an argument that this current California drought is appreciably, if at all, linked to human-induced climate change.

This is not to say that a warmer climate can’t and won’t act to decrease soil moisture. It simply reminds us that the current drought event, like its historical ancestors, continues to be strongly driven by the vagaries of storm tracks and the manner in which rains are delivered to the narrow stripe of the U.S. West Coast."" via Roger Pielke, Jr.


Dr. Martin Hoerling Biography:

"Dr. Martin Hoerling is a research meteorologist, specializing in climate dynamics, in NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory located in Boulder, Colorado. He is the Convening Lead Author for the US Climate Change Science Plan Synthesis and Assessment Report on "Attribution of the Causes of Climate Variations and Trends over North America," released in 2009. Dr. Hoerling is Chairman of the US CLIVAR (Climate Variability) research program. Dr. Hoerling served as Editor for the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, and has published over 50 scientific papers dealing with climate variability and change."


Comment: Proof if needed that Mr. Obama was mistaken in his Jan. 2009 inauguration speech when he said: "We will restore science to its rightful place."


Eight added items:

First, the US government turned off water pumps in California to allegedly save a bait fish. Since 2009 politicians have had the ability to turn the water back on and have declined to do so. Following are related citations from 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2014:

10/21/2005, "Report: Saving the Delta Smelt to be costly," 


Sept. 2007, Fed. judge orders Calif. and US gov. to turn off water pumps in California to allegedly protect a fish:
9/1/2007, "Judge Orders State and Federal Governments to Reduce Delta Pumping,", by Dan Bacher 


The Dec. 2008 ruling to allegedly protect the California Delta Smelt would in some years cut state (California) water deliveries by half...."On Dec. 15, 2008, the Bush administration's Fish and Wildlife Service chose fish, a decision driven by a lawsuit filed in federal court in 2006."... 

Your pain will continue because we say so:

11/29/2009, "The pain people felt this year may continue into the future."...Obama Interior Sec.

11/29/2009, "Congressional Water Report," KMPH (Fresno, Ca.), By: Rich Rodriguez  

"In early June the pumps were reduced to a trickle due to the decline of the Delta Smelt, a protected fish.  Nunes said, "it's hard to give anyone hope if the House of Representatives won't pass a bill to let the pumps run.

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has visited the Valley twice to see how the drought and environmental regulations are impacting the westside. His second trip left farmers and farm workers feeling helpless when he announced that environmental rules in the Delta would not be relaxed. Salazar said, "the reality of this is we do not have those solutions at hand. The pain people felt this year may continue into the future.""... 


8/14/2009, "It's Fish Versus Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley," WSJ op-ed, Rep. Devin Nunes

"Crops rot and people stand in line for food while the EPA engineers a drought."


In 2009 the US Senate had no interest in turning the water back on in California. 61-36 against:

9/22/2009, "Senate rejects measure to turn California water on," Washington Times, Amanda Carpenter


"The San Joaquin Valley is the single richest agricultural region in the world.", 2/16/14:

12/28/2010, "Fresno, Zimbabwe," IBD Editorial

"A victim of a famine machine that is entirely greens."...

"Fresno, Calif., stands as the de facto capital of California's mighty Central Valley, the breadbasket of America." But

(Comment: It's not fair to be the "richest" in the world. That must be stopped.) .  
  • ==========================

2/14/14, "California's Drought Isn't Due To Global Warming, But Politics," IBD Editorial 


2/18/14, “California drought: Why some farmers are ‘exporting water’ to China,” BBC, Alastair Leithead

While historic winter storms have battered much of the US, California is suffering its worst drought on record. So why is America’s most valuable farming state using billions of gallons of water to grow hay – specifically alfalfa – which is then shipped to China?"... 




Secondly, Israel began desalination in 1973 and added five large plants in 2008. The cost of desalination has decreased immensely. Israel now has plenty of water, even exports it to help neighboring countries. 1/24/14, "Over and drought: Why the end of Israel's water shortage is a secret," Haaretz, Yuval Elizur.

Water among topics discussed by Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and Israel PM Netanyahu in March 2014:

3/5/2014: "During a meeting at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, the two emphasized their joint interests in cybersecurity, energy sources and water conservation, and suggested Israel — an arid country with a growing population — might be able to help California cope with its ongoing drought.
California doesn’t need to have a water problem,” Netanyahu said. “Israel has no water problems because we are the number one recyclers of waste water, we stop water leaks, we use drip irrigation and desalination.” 
Brown said he would welcome their ideas.Israel has demonstrated how efficient a country can be, and there is a great opportunity for collaboration,” Brown said."...

3/5/14, "Netanyahu, Gov. Brown Sign Pro-Business Pact," AP via



Third, scientists say California has had worse droughts than this: 1/25/14, "California drought: Past dry periods have lasted more than 200 years, scientists say," Mercury News, Paul Rogers
"California's current drought is being billed as the driest period in the state's recorded rainfall history. But scientists who study the West's long-term climate patterns say the state has been parched for much longer stretches before that 163-year historical period began....
Through studies of tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, researchers have documented multiple droughts in California that lasted 10 or 20 years in a row during the past 1,000 years -- compared to the mere three-year duration of the current dry spell. The two most severe megadroughts make the Dust Bowl of the 1930s look tame: a 240-year-long drought that started in 850 and, 50 years after the conclusion of that one, another that stretched at least 180 years. 
"We continue to run California as if the longest drought we are ever going to encounter is about seven years," said Scott Stine, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Cal State East Bay. "We're living in a dream world."...
California, the nation's most populous state with 38 million residents, has built a massive economy, Silicon Valley, Hollywood and millions of acres of farmland, all in a semiarid area. The state's dams, canals and reservoirs have never been tested by the kind of prolonged drought that experts say will almost certainly occur again.
Stine, who has spent decades studying tree stumps in Mono Lake, Tenaya Lake, the Walker River and other parts of the Sierra Nevada, said that the past century has been among the wettest of the last 7,000 years."...



Fourth, if humans are your focus, China particulates sit over California:

7/20/2007, "Huge Dust Plumes From China Cause Changes in Climate," Robert Lee Hotz, Wall St. Journal

"One tainted export from China can't be avoided in North America -- air. An outpouring of dust layered with man-made sulfates, smog, industrial fumes, carbon grit and nitrates is crossing the Pacific Ocean on prevailing winds from booming Asian economies in plumes so vast they alter the climate. These rivers of polluted air can be wider than the Amazon and deeper than the Grand Canyon. 

"There are times when it covers the entire Pacific Ocean basin like a ribbon bent back and forth," said atmospheric physicist V. Ramanathan at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.

On some days, almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia. With it comes up to three-quarters of the black carbon particulate pollution that reaches the West Coast, Dr. Ramanathan and his colleagues recently reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research."... 

Image: "Courtesy SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE: "A satellite view from 2001 shows dust arriving in California from Asian deserts. Concentrations of dust are visible to the south, near the coastline (lower right); To the west the dust is mixed with clouds over open ocean. This dust event caused a persistent haze in places like Death Valley, California, where skies are usually crystal clear." image via Wall St. Journal. (image may no longer be posted with the 2007 WSJ article, ed.)



Fifth, CO2 doesn't cause temperatures to increase. Even if it did, US CO2 has dropped drastically in past 20 years. Citations follow from 2012 and 2013:


In all cases temperatures lag CO2, never precede per
30 year peer reviewed scientific study, Jan. 1980-Dec. 2011:
January 2013, "The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature," Global and Planetary Change,

Scientists: "The common notion of globally dominant temperature controls exercised by atmospheric CO2 is in need of reassessment."


8/16/12, “AP IMPACT: CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low,” AP, Kevin Begos

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct  government action against carbon dioxide....

Bentek says that (US) power companies plan to retire 175 coal-fired plants over the next five years [by 2017]. That could bring coal's CO2 emissions down to 1980 levels."...


6/4/12, "Climate change stunner: USA leads world in CO2 cuts since 2006," Vancouver Observer, Saxifrage


"Not only that, but as my top chart shows, US CO2 emissions are falling even faster than what President Obama pledged in the global Copenhagen Accord."...Here is the biggest shocker of all: the average American’s CO2 emissions are down to levels not seen since 1964 --over half a century ago. …Coal is the number two source of CO2 for Americans. Today the average American burns an amount similar to what they did in 1955, and even less than they did in the 1940s. …It is exactly America’s historical role of biggest and dirtiest that   makes their sharp decline in CO2 pollution so noteworthy and potentially game changing at the global level.”...


News of US CO2 plunge has been described as:


Change in global CO2 US v China, 2005 to 2011, energy related, US EIA (US Energy Dept.), WSJ, April 2013
. .

4/18/13, "Rise in U.S. Gas Production Fuels Unexpected Plunge in Emissions," WSJ, Russell Gold

"U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically in recent years, in large part because the country is making more electricity with natural gas instead of coal."..



Sixth, the US doesn't have the ability to lower global CO2. The EPA states Obama's planned power plant rules to lower CO2 emissions will have no effect on CO2 emissions:

1/6/14, "A Proposed Rule by the Environmental Protection Agency on 01/08/2014"
"I. General Information," "A. Executive Summary"

"3. Costs and Benefits"

"Therefore, based on the analysis presented in Chapter 5 of the RIA, the EPA projects that this proposed rule will result in negligible CO 2 emission changes, quantified benefits, and costs by 2022. [2]"... 



Seventh, a marijuana plant require 5 gallons of water a day. Much California water is siphoned illegally to raise these plants. Citations from 2012, 2014:

"Each plant uses 5 gallons of water a day."...

12/23/12, "Pot farms wreaking havoc on Northern California environment," LA Times, Joe Mozingo


3/2/14, "Illegal Pot Grows Adding To California’s Water Woes,", Maria Medina, Mendocino Cty., CBS13

Eighth, the myth of no US climate "action:" the US leads the world in climate "action" and has since at least 1980:

Over 30 years ago the US began diverting taxpayer dollars in the name of human caused climate change terrorbefore the UN IPCC or celebrity climate scientists even existed. "Action" against human caused atmospheric and environmental change has been mandated in US law since 1990 binding at least 13 federal agencies. Section 2 cites human influence: "D. the manner in which such system, environment, and changes are influenced by human actions." CO2 is mentioned in section 204, #4. It's been a great way to transfer cash. UN IPCC officials freely admit this. US taxpayers even pay at least half the tab for UN IPCC jet setters. In 2013, struggling US taxpayers were forced to give 30% more to UN IPCC partiers: "State Department contributions... include a 30 percent hike, to $13 million, for the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."...
(5th parag. from end) 4/12/13, "Despite sequester, State Department ups support for the UN," George Russell, Fox News

  • ==================

Citation for US being world climate leader:

9/26/13, "Climate Skeptics Against Global Warming,", Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus


In 2012 alone almost a billion dollars a day was invested in the idea of "global warming." Pretty good for something that doesn't exist. Of course, they say $1B a day is peanuts, they need much more.


Science has never been the point anyway. UN officials have made clear it's a cash transfer away from Americans:

11/14/10: ""But one must say clearly: We distribute by climate policy de facto the world's wealth around. ...This has to do with environmental policy... almost nothing....The climate summit in Cancun end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War."...

Ottmar Edenhofer
11/14/10, "Climate policy distributes the assets new world," NZZamSontag, Bernard Potter

This ridiculous idea enslaving US taxpayers continues full steam ahead only because US politicians agree with it. It would've died long ago otherwise. The point has always been to sell out the US taxpayer to equatorial dictators, the UK monarchy, global billionaires, and organized crime at the so-called UN. "Post 2015 Development Agenda." 

Scientist resigns from elite science society over its endorsement of global warming in 2010: .  

Saying global warming "is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud" he'd seen in his long life as a physicist, the late Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, resigned from the elite American Physical Society in 2010:

"It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist."... 
  • .============================= . 
The GOP has merged with democrats so the left does whatever it wants:

"The president still talks of “settled science” in the global-warming debate. He recently flew to California to attribute the near-record drought there to human-induced global warming.

There is no scientific basis for the president’s assertion about the drought. Periodic droughts are characteristic of California’s climate, both in the distant past and over a century and a half of modern record-keeping. If the president were empirical rather than political, he would instead have cited the logical reasons for the fact that this drought is far more serious than those of the late 1970s.

California has not built additional major mountain storage reservoirs to capture Sierra Nevada runoff in decades. The population of the state’s water consumers has almost doubled since the last severe drought. Several million acre-feet of stored fresh water have been in recent years diverted to the sea — on the dubious science that the endangered delta smelt suffers mostly from irrigation-related water diversions rather than pollutants, and that year-round river flows for salmon, from the mountains to the sea, existed before the reserve water storage available from the construction of mountain reservoirs.

The administration has delayed construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, citing concern about climate change. Yet a recent State Department environmental report found that the proposed pipeline would not increase carbon dioxide emissions enough to affect atmospheric temperatures.

There is no scientific basis from which to cancel the Keystone, but a variety of logical reasons to build it — such as moving toward North American energy independence and protecting ourselves against energy blackmailers and cartels abroad.
Science is rarely “settled.” Instead, orthodoxy is constantly challenged. A theory survives not by politics, but only if it can offer the best logical explanations for a set of circumstances backed by hard statistical data.

“Global warming” that begat “climate change” is no exception. All the good politics in the world of blaming most bad weather on too much carbon dioxide cannot make it true if unquestioned climate data cannot support the notion of recent temperature increases’ being directly attributable to rising man-caused carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere."...

Extra: The Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973 by Pres. Richard Nixon. Nixon created the EPA and NOAA in 1970.


Note from blog editor: I apologize for irregular gaps throughout this post. Google dislikes free speech. They've vandalized my posts in many ways over the years. Making a post appear as if a third grader did it is just one example. I say google has been doing this because I've eliminated every other possibility.

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