Climate For All

An All Around Science Blog

The IPCC, Droughts and Floods, Then And Now

How The Media Muddles Thru In The Face Of Denial

On June 8th, a staff writer for the San Fransisco Chronicle, had an article published about the concerns of summer floods:

Record Calif. snowpack raises summer flood fear

Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

“More snow than has ever been recorded this close to summer is blanketing Donner Summit, creating a potentially dangerous situation when the snow begins to melt, hydrology experts said Tuesday.”

The article continued with another snippet worth mentioning:

“In a normal winter, you see the entire snowpack melt in May and there is no snow left on the ground by June 1,” Pechner said. “In this case, we still have well over 6 feet of snow still on the ground.”

But the eye-popper comes near the end of the article when Fimrite writes:

“Most meteorologists are reluctant to ascribe a cause to the unusual weather, but Pechner said there is only one logical explanation for the record number of tornadoes in the South and Northeast, the heat waves across the globe and the mercurial conditions seemingly everywhere.”

To which Pechner, a meteorologist  from the Bay Area, responds saying, “I think it’s climate change.”

I find it curious that Fimrite would say most weathermen are reluctant to ascribe a cause. All anyone has to do is turn on the television or read a pro-AGW website and find many saying that climate change is the cause. So, I really don’t see why Fimrite would say that. Unless of course he is looking for sympathy from his readers, by misleading some  in the hopes of picking up a few wafflers on the issue. Who knows.

But the story got me to questioning why would anyone ascribe this type of current weather event  to climate change.

So I decided to research the bible on climate change; the IPCC Annual Reports.

In Figure 14.3 of the IPCC AR 4, we find this information:

Water supply systems
North American city water supply systems often draw water from considerable distances, so climate impacts need not be local
to affect cities. By the 2020s, 41% of the supply to southern California is likely to be vulnerable to warming from loss of Sierra
Nevada and Colorado River basin snowpack (see Section 14.4.1)

In regards to snowpack, the IPCC AR4 had this to say in Section 14.2:

“…seasonal flows shift markedly toward larger winter and spring flows and smaller summer and autumn flows.”

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand what they are trying to convey. The assumption here is this;  with increased warming, due to high levels of carbon dioxide, warmer winters is presumed to produce less precipitation, and lessened snowpack will produce less water to fill rivers and reservoirs. In regards to the numbers, I find that the prediction for a 41%  of the water supply being vulnerable due to warming seems a bit contriving. The vagueness of the alarmism is quite noticeable, but the alarmism is based on this assumption that water basins will dry up, due to the loss of snowpack. Just so we are clear on what the IPCC says in AR4, let us look at this quote from Section 14.4.1:

“Warming, and changes in the form, timing and amount of precipitation, will very likely lead to earlier melting and significant reductions in snowpack in the western mountains by the middle of the 21st century (high confidence)”

This seems like nothing more than double-talk. In one sentence they say, “seasonal flows shift markedly towards larger winter and spring flows” and “will very likely lead to earlier melting and significant reduction in snowpack.”

How can there be larger winter flows, yet do so with less snowpack?

And then we have this years weather anomaly in the Sierra Nevada, where never before in its recorded history has there ever been this much snowpack this late in the year. But Pechner says its climate change, though the IPCC  never predicted such an event.

And before the likes of  Tamino and others of his ilk refer to this as cherry-picking, lets look at another article written in the NYT on May 21st:

Record Snowpacks Could Threaten Western States

“Thanks to a blizzard-filled winter and an unusually cold and wet spring, more than 90 measuring sites from Montana to New Mexico and California to Colorado have record snowpack totals on the ground for late May, according to a federal report released last week.”

90 different sites have record snowpack levels. Here is a map showing the different sites where those records took place:

Source: Natl Water and Climate Center

None of this was predicted by paper, article, report, or writting submitted to or printed by the IPCC. With many concerned about flooding in these areas, the IPCC had not predicted any sort of flooding in these areas.

While the IPCC AR4 had predicted that flooding would occur in and around river basins, the emphasis was on areas already sensitive to flooding, (e.g., the Sacramento (Miller, 2003), the Fraser (Lemmen and Warren, 2004), the Red River (Simonovic and Li, 2004) and the upper Mississippi (Allen et. al., 2003)).

This last entry, a paper written by Allen et. al. 2003 seems a little puzzling to me. While the reference is in regards to the Upper Mississippi River, the paper itself is, ‘Drought Lowers Lake Mead’, which we can can plainly see in the reference section of the AR4. It seems the writers of this annual report from the IPCC are completely inept. Making a reference to flooding of the Upper Mississippi, using a paper on droughts in the Sierra Nevada, is just laughable.

The IPCC AR4 doesn’t even mention Lake Mead. I find that a bit interesting. Lake Mead has been hit with droughts in the past. That might be a indicator.  The scientists behind CAGW can’t really blame CO2 for a lake that has already suffered two droughts in the last 60 years. Yet somehow the paper by Allen et al 2003, regarding the drought, still makes it in the AR4. Albeit by a back door if you ask me.

And then to be more confounding,  right around the time the AR4 was released, an article regarding the Sierra Nevada and Lake Mead made its rounds:

The Future Is Drying Up

Published: October 21, 2007
Here is an excerpt from that article:
An even darker possibility is that a Western drought caused by climatic variation and a drought caused by global warming could arrive at the same time. Or perhaps they already have. This coming spring, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue a report identifying areas of the world most at risk of droughts and floods as the earth warms. Fresh-water shortages are already a global concern, especially in China, India and Africa. But the I.P.C.C., which along with Al Gore received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month for its work on global-warming issues, will note that many problem zones are located within the United States, including California (where the Sierra Nevada snowpack is threatened)and the Colorado River basin. These assessments follow on the heels of a number of recent studies that analyze mountain snowpack and future Colorado River flows. Almost without exception, recent climate models envision reductions that range from the modest to the catastrophic by the second half of this century. One study in particular, by Martin Hoerling and Jon Eischeid, suggests the region is already “past peak water,” a milestone that means the river’s water supply will now forever trend downward.
Instead, there is now a real threat of severe flooding and a certain relief and joy, for the water that should soon find its way into lakes, rivers and streams that were considered to have a ” forever trend downward.”

Here are some more quotes from other articles regarding this record event.

“In California, officials staged three days of flood training last week, running disaster scenarios and practicing the grunt work of filling sandbags and draping and tying down tarp. The state’s aging levee system has long been a source of concern, with fears of large-scale failures that could leave Sacramento, the state capital, vulnerable to a Hurricane Katrina-scale flood.The anxieties are amplified this year by the deep snows in the Sierra Nevada, where some ski spots around Lake Tahoe saw more than 60 feet this season.”

“At Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River in Utah, federal managers have begun spilling water downstream in preparation for the rising waters; the reservoir has 700,000 acre-feet of available space, but will have an expected inflow of 1.4 million acre-feet more through July, federal officials said.”

“In the Wasatch Mountains outside Salt Lake City, where Alta Ski Resort still has about 200 inches of snow, cool temperatures have kept snowpacks from crossing what hydrologists call the isothermal barrier — 32 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the snowmass — which allows gradual melting from the bottom. Three more feet of snow piled on just last week.”

“According to the National Weather Service website, “flooding due to snowmelt is uncommon on the Virgin River and Santa Clara main stems. Flood levels, established due to rainfall events, are much higher than seasonal peaks that occur due to snowmelt. Snowmelt peaks on the Virgin River are expected to be above average and similar or greater than peaks observed in the spring of 2010. Smaller tributaries of the Virgin and Santa Clara are likely to experience high flows, possibly reaching or exceeding bankful levels.”

“The latest projections from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation call for the Colorado to swell with 11.5 million acre-feet of water between April and July, as the heavy blanket of snow melts from mountain ranges that feed the river system. That would be 45 percent more water than the average flow over the last century, making this the best year since 1995 and the 15th best since record keeping began in 1909.”

 “As of Monday, we still hadn’t reached the peak of the snowpack. It just keeps growing,” said Terry Fulp, deputy director for the bureau’s Lower Colorado region. “It’s been remarkable.”

Etc. Etc. Etc.

These are but a few quotes and facts of an even greater  collection of weather event  articles that are circulating on the web and local papers. This is but the tip of growing list of extreme weather events around the world. But I will save those stories  for another post.

For now though, be warned. The media and the alarmists will attempt and confuse and misdirect the unsuspecting, that these events taking place in the west and around the world,  is a result of global warming.

But it’s not. It’s nothing more than spin and fear that has them spreading these lies and untruths.

It’s up to us, the skeptic, the scientist, the layman, the non-believer of CAGW, to pass this information on to anyone willing to listen.

Good Day !


3 responses to “The IPCC, Droughts and Floods, Then And Now

  1. Billy Liar June 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Good Day!

    Nice post!

  2. Ross June 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Small problem – you can have larger winter and spring flows whilst having lower summer flows – they will say the higher winter flow simply indicates warming melting more snow than otherwise – hence even a 1% increase on a small flow in winter is a “larger winter flow”.

    The IPCC confine all their science to “averages” – it simply doesn’t add up otherwise.

    But the world is not average – it is dynamic.

    The whole basis for the hypothesis – let’s not give it the credibility of calling it theory yet – is the so called “reality” that without greenhouse gases the earth’s average temperature would be -18 C.

    This is patently absurd – without Water and Water vapour our atmosphere would be very transparent, the earth’s surface would heat up higher (~120 C) than minus 18 C and would plunge to something like the temperature of space (~ -250 C- just guessing – space is thought to be ~ -270 C or ~3K) at night when the radiation escapes to space.

    They use this “average” nonsense so they can justify something like the “Kiehl & Trenberth” diagram – Energy balance from IPCC AR4 FAQ, Figure 1.

    It is easy to expose this as quackery :-
    1. The earth is NOT subject to constant irradiance of one quarter of the solar constant – it is subject to a dynamic irradiation which increases from dawn to dusk – how else does one explain temperatures approaching 50 C ?? – Oh I forgot – “back radiation” which on their pretty picture” has more energy than the incoming solar radiation – where did it get this energy in the first place ???
    2. The moon, with no greenhouse gases reaches ~120 C during the day and plunges to staggeringly cols at night. Heat the moon with the agreed solar constant of 1366 W/sq metre and you get a temperature of ~120 C. Heat it with Kiehl & Trenberth’s 342 W/sq metre and you get 5.5 C.

    What do you reckon NASA says about the moon’s temperature ~120 C or ~ 5.5 C ?

    See for yourself –

    Without our atmosphere the earth would be similar to the moon not a frozen spaceball as the IPCC falsely claim.

    No matter how well a structure is engineered if it is built on a shaky foundation it will likely come crashing down.

    Similarly, no matter how great the science or peer review is, if the fundamental principle is invalid then the rest is GIGO.

    • ClimateForAll July 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      yes, those darn pesky averages.
      On another note, the temperature averages for these heavy snowpack areas is well below average for spring and summer at this point.
      A trend here I see, is if it continues, these areas that were once snow free in summers, will now continue to have snow year around.

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