Monthly Archives: April 2008

Global Warming Whining

Last year, the "hot" issue among global warming alarmists was that earlier, warmer springs were going to kill the maple syrup industry.

"You might be tempted to say, well that’s a bunch of baloney — global warming," said Mr. Morse, drilling his first tap holes this season in mid-February, as snow hugged the maples and Vermont braced for a record snowfall. "But the way I feel, we get too much warm. How many winters are we going to go with Decembers turning into short-sleeve weather, before the maple trees say, ‘I don’t like it here any more?’ "

There is no way to know for certain, but scientists are increasingly persuaded that human-caused global warming is changing climate conditions that affect sugaring….

"It appears to be a rather dire situation for the maple industry in the Northeast if conditions continue to go toward the predictions that have been made for global warming," said Tim Perkins, director of the Proctor Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont.

Dr. Perkins studied the records of maple syrup production over the last 40 years and found a fairly steady progression of the maple sugaring season moving earlier and earlier, and also getting shorter.

OK, I see, so warm winters hurt the maple sugar industry.  So this must have been a great season, right, since it was a really cold winter?  Wrong!

The weather this week will be key, but producers say the heavy snows this winter also are limiting production.

Moore said that at least 75 percent of his 5,000 trees are unreachable this week, still buried in snow. "I have trees that still have 3 feet of snow around them," he said. "It’s not looking good right now."Eric Ellis of Maine Maple Products of Madison, a company run by the Lariviere brothers that taps 50,000 trees in northern Somerset County, said the season in the north country hasn’t even begun. "It’s a week to 10 days late." Ellis, like Moore, is concerned that it may get too warm too quickly.

"We only made syrup one afternoon last week," he said. "The Skowhegan area is certainly below average." Somerset County has the distinction of being the highest-producing county in the country.

OK, so colder, longer winters are bad for maple syrup too.  I don’t remember anyone pointing this out last year when they were blaming global warming.

The Keystone Issue of Global Warming

It is silly to argue whether CO2 in the atmosphere can cause global warming: It clearly does.  The issue is not "if" but "how much".  The warming from man’s CO2 might be 8 degrees in a century, as Al Gore might argue, in which case man’s CO2 would be incredibly disruptive.  Or it might cause just a few tenths of a degree of warming, which might be unnoticeable within the noise of natural climate variation.

Interestingly, the key to understanding this issue of the amount of warming does not actually lie in greenhouse gas theory.  Most scientists, skeptics and alarmists alike, peg the warming directly from CO2 at between 0.3 and 1.0 degrees Celsius for a doubling in CO2 levels  (this notion of how much temperatures would increase for a doubling of CO2 levels is called climate sensitivity).  If this greenhouse gas warming was the only phenomenon at work, we would expect man-made warming over the next century even using the most dire assumptions to be less than 1C, or about the same amount we have seen (non-catastrophically) over the last century.  Warming forecasts of this magnitude would not in any way, shape, or form justify the draconian economic impacts of many current government carbon reduction proposals.

The key, as I have written before (and here), lies not in greenhouse gas theory itself but in the theory that the earth’s climate is dominated by positive feedback.  This theory hypothesizes that small changes in temperature from greenhouse gas increases would be multiplied 3,4,5 times or more by positive feedback effects, from changes in atmospheric water vapor to changing surface albedo.

Let me emphasize again:  The catastrophe results not from greenhouse gas theory, but from the theory of extreme climactic positive feedback.  In a large sense, all the debate in the media is about the wrong thing!  When was the last time you saw the words "positive feedback" in a media article about climate?

Christopher Monckton has an absolutely dead-on post at Roger Pielke’s blog about this feedback theory that I want to excerpt in depth.

This chart is a good place to start.  It shows the changes in the IPCC’s estimate for climate sensitivity to CO2 and how it has changed over the course of the reports.  More importantly, he splits the forecast between the amount due directly to Co2, and the amount due to the multiplicative effect of positive feedback.  The green bar is the direct contribution of Co2, and the pink is the feedback.

Fig3

We can observe a couple of things.  First, the IPCC’s estimate of the amount of warming due to CO2 directly via the greenhouse gas effect has actually been going down over time.  (Note that there are those, like Richard Lindzen, who suggest these numbers are still three times too high given that we have not observed a difference in surface and lower troposphere warming that greenhouse gas theory seems to predict).

Second, you will see that the IPCC’s overall forecasts of climate sensitivity have been going up only because their estimates of positive feedback effects have gone way up.  The IPCC assumes that feedback effects multiply warming from CO2 by three.  And note that the IPCC’s forecasts of feedback effects trail those of folks like James Hansen and Al Gore. 

So how confident are we in these feedback effects?  Well, it turns out we are not even sure of the sign!  As Monckton writes:

The feedback factor f accounts for at least two-thirds of all radiative forcing in IPCC (2007); yet it is not expressly quantified, and no “Level Of Scientific Understanding” is assigned either to f or to the two variables b and κ upon which it is dependent….

Indeed, in IPCC (2007) the stated values for the feedbacks that account for more than two-thirds of humankind’s imagined effect on global temperatures are taken from a single paper. The value of the coefficient z in the CO2 forcing equation likewise depends on only one paper. The implicit value of the crucial parameter κ depends upon only two papers, one of which had been written by a lead author of the chapter in question, and neither of which provides any theoretical or empirical justification for the IPCC’s chosen value. The notion that the IPCC has drawn on thousands of published, peer-reviewed papers to support its central estimates for the variables from which climate sensitivity is calculated is not supported by the evidence.

Given the importance of feedback to their forecasts, the treatment in the latest IPCC report of feedback borders on the criminal.  I have read the relevant sections and it is nearly impossible to find any kind of discussion of these issues.  A cynical mind might describe the thousands of pages of the IPCC report as the magician grabbing your attention with his left hand to hide what is in his right hand.  And what is being hidden is that … there is nothing there!  Feedback is the pivotal point on which the whole discussion of drastic carbon abatement should turn and there is nothing there. 

Monckton goes further, to point out that hidden in the IPCC numbers lies an absurdity:

if the upper estimates of each of the climate-relevant feedbacks listed in IPCC (2007) are summed, an instability arises. The maxima are -

Water vapor 1.98, lapse rate -0.58, surface albedo 0.34, cloud albedo 1.07, CO2 0.57, total 3.38 W m-2 K-1.

The equation f = (1 – bκ)-1 becomes unstable as b → κ-1 = 3.2 W m-2 K-1. Yet, if each of the individual feedbacks imagined by the IPCC is increased to less than the IPCC’s maximum, an instability or “runaway greenhouse effect” is reached.

Yet it is reliably inferred from palaeoclimatological data that no “runaway greenhouse effect” has occurred in the half billion years since the Cambrian era, when atmospheric CO2 concentration peaked at almost 20 times today’s value

Positive feedback can be weird and unstable.  If there is enough of it, processes tend to run away (e.g. nuclear fission), which is what Monckton is arguing that some of the IPCC assumptions lead to.  Even when feedback is less positive, it still can cause processes to fluctuate wildly.  In fact, it is fairly unusual for long-term stable processes like climate to be dominated by positive feedback.  Most scientists, when then meet a new process, would probably assume negative feedback until proven otherwise.  This is a particular issue in climate, where folks like Michael Mann have gone out of their way to argue that the world temperature history over the last 1000 years before man began burning fossil fuels is incredibly stable and unchanging.  If so, how can this be consistent with strong positive feedback?

Anyway, there is a lot more numerical detail in Monckton’s post if you want to dig into the equations.

I would add one thing to his analysis:  If you look at the last 100 years of history, the change in temperature given the observed change in CO2 levels comes no where close to a climate sensitivity of 3 or more, even when you assign all historical warming to CO2 rather than other effects like the sun.  In fact, as I showed in this analysis, climate sensitivity appears to be 1.2 when one assigns all past warming to CO2, and something well less than that if one accepts the sun and other effects also play a role.  These historical analyses would point to feedback that is either zero or negative rather than positive, more in line with what one would expect from complex natural systems.

You can see a discussion of many of these topics in the video below:

What is the Temperature?

It seems like a simple question:  What is the temperature.  Well, we know now that surface temperature measurement is really hard, since its hard to get good geographic coverage when oceans cover 3/4 of the world and biases are a huge problem when most of the measurement points we had in the year 1900 have been engulfed by cities and their urban heat islands.

But John Goetz brings us a new answer to the question, what is the temperature?  Answer:  Whatever the GISS wants it to be, and they seem to change their minds a lot.  He only has the last 2-1/2 years of GISS data but finds an astounding amount of variation in the data over these couple of years.  Excerpt:

On average 20% of the historical record was modified 16 times in the last 2 1/2 years. The largest single jump was 0.27 C. This occurred between the Oct 13, 2006 and Jan 15, 2007 records when Aug 2006 changed from an anomoly of +0.43C to +0.70C, a change of nearly 68%.

I was surprised at how much of the pre-Y2K temperature record changed! My personal favorite change was between the August 16, 2007 file and the March 29, 2008 file. Suddenly, in the later file, the J-D annual temperature for 1880 could now be calculated. In all previous versions the temperature could not be determined.

Temperatures in Antarctica

A week or so ago I lambasted the press for trying to portray the collapse of a small portion of an ice shelf on the Antarctic penninsula as evidence of accelerating global warming.  I argued that for decades there has indeed been a warming trend on the Penninsula  (less than 5% of Antarctic land area) but a cooling trend in the rest of the continent.  This implies that the ice shelf collapse either 1) means nothing, as ice shelves do collapse and re-grow fro mtime to time or 2) is an indicator of a local warming anomaly.  In other words, the conditions on the Antarctic Penninsula are not representative of the rest of Antarctica, much less the globe.

Today, Roger Pielke’s blog brings more evidence of how the Antarctic Penninsula is behaving differently from the rest of Antarctica:

Surface snowmelt in Antarctica in 2008, as derived from spaceborne passive microwave observations at 19.35 gigahertz, was 40% below the average of the period 1987–2007. The melting index (MI, a measure of where melting occurred and for how long) in 2008 was the second-smallest value in the 1987–2008 period, with 3,465,625 square kilometers times days (km2 × days) against the average value of 8,407,531 km2 × days (Figure 1a). Melt extent (ME, the extent of the area subject to melting) in 2008 set a new minimum with 297,500 square kilometers, against an average value of approximately 861,812 square kilometers. The 2008 updated melting index and melt extent trends over the whole continent, as derived from a linear regression approach, are –164,487 km2 × days per year (MI) and –11,506 square kilometers per year (ME), respectively.

Negative trends for the period 1987–2008 of the number of melting days (Figure 1b)
over the Antarctic Peninsula are observed at a rate down to –2 days per year for internal areas and about –0.7 days per year for coastal areas. Contrarily, positive trends (up to approximately +0.25 days per year) are observed on part of the Larsen Ice Shelf.

In East Antarctica, positive trends are observed over the Amery, West, Shackleton, and Voyeykov ice shelves, with values of up to +0.7 days per year for Shackleton and +0.8 days per year for Amery. Interestingly, the latter shows negative trends (down to –0.3 days per year) for internal areas but positive values for coastal areas.

Translation:  Most of Antarctica has seen a trend towards less ice melting over the last few decades, with 2008 setting minimum records.  The exception is around the ice shelves, which have seen an opposite trend.  These ice shelves represent a tiny, tiny fraction of the area of Antarctica, and are thought to be melting because the surrounding sea may have warmed a bit (though that is not certain).  Which all goes to show that weather is really complicated and it is totally facile to write that an ice shelf collapse is a sign of accelerating global warming.

Using Climate Change as an Excuse

I think we are going to see more of this:  Using climate change as an excuse to cover failures that have nothing to do with climate change.  (via Tom Nelson)

Amidst the worsening political crisis hitting the Arroyo government brought about by ZTE-NBN scandal and all other issues raised since 2001, economic situation is also getting worst. For about 3 weeks, the country’s facing the issue on rice shortage. Ironically, government officials are singing different lyrics looking something or somebody to blame.

Senator Miguel Zubiri noted that climate change is a possible factor on low food production. While Senator Loren Legarda stated that without climate change Philippines can have higher agricultural production.

But available data from PAG-ASA show that the country’s recorded normal rainfall last year giving a very favorable condition for agricultural production. Also, few typhoons visited the country on the same year as compared to 2005 and 2006.

Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator of KALIKASAN People’s Network believed that the government is using the climate change as escape goat on the real causes of rice shortage.

Interestingly, the author says that in fact it may not be climate change, but the government programs aimed at CO2 abatement and global warming reduction that are to blame:

He lamented the current policies and program of the government to combat climate change which will further threaten our food security. He stated that Biofuels Act of 2007 introduced the commercialization of biofuel production. This will aggrevate problems on food security and landlessness. Biofuel act of 2007 will further strengthen the convertion of agricultural land to commercial use.

Ash and Ice

A number of scientists have suggested that melting ice in the Arctic and rising Arctic temperatures may have as much to do with ash deposits (mainly from man-made combustion) than from other causes.  In particular, plants in China are not well-designed to capture the combustion by-products as well as we do here in the US.  Mike Smith has an interesting set of photos of the quite rapid melting effect ash can have on snow pack. 

There is actually good news here.  The problem with CO2 abatement (vs. abatement of about any other pollutant you can think of) is that CO2 is fundamental to the combustion process.  We can eliminate most of the SO2 or ash pollution from coal burning, but not the CO2.  As I posted just yesterday, I would love to see an effort to clean up the Chinese coal plants — this ash issue is just another reason.  Unfortunately, global warming alarmists are working against this goal.  First, they focus attentino on getting China to get rid of coal plants altogether, a non-starter.  But second, warming alarmists don’t want the Chinese to clean up their coal plants, because they fear that this would make it politically easier for them to keep them running.

In His Own Words

In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

Al Gore, 2006

Which, of course, reminds me of this one NOAA’s Steven Schneider:

We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

Update:  Here is a question:  If Al Gore purposely exaggerates the problem to increase the value of his investments in global warming and carbon trading companies, how is he any different from what,say, the folks at Enron were accused of?

Progressives Hate the Poor

I try to focus more on the issues with science and climate observation here, but I thought some of my readers my be interested in this post from CoyoteBlog.

Yeah, I know they seem to care so much, but nearly every policy they actively advocate turns out to be a disaster for the poor.  Here is a great example:

In May 2002, in the midst of a severe food shortage in sub-Saharan Africa, the government of Zimbabwe turned away 10,000 tons of corn from the World Food Program (WFP). The WFP then diverted the food to other countries, including Zambia, where 2.5 million people were in need. The Zambian government locked away the corn, banned its distribution, and stopped another shipment on its way to the country. “Simply because my people are hungry,” President Levy Mwanawasa later said, “is no justification to give them poison.”

The corn came from farms in the United States, where most corn produced—and consumed—comes from seeds that have been engineered to resist some pests, and thus qualifies as genetically modified. Throughout the 90s, genetically modified foods were seen as holding promise for the farmers of Africa, so long as multinationals would invest in developing superior African crops rather than extend the technology only to the rich. When Zambia and Zimbabwe turned away food aid, simmering controversy over the crops themselves brimmed over and seeped into almost every African state. Cast as toxic to humans, destructive to the environment, and part of a corporate plot to immiserate the poor, cutting edge farming technology is most feared where it is most needed.

This is simply awful, and is driven by progressive politics in Europe that abhor GM food, despite reams of scientific evidence and years of experience that it has no demonstrable health effect.  (It is particularly ironic that GM corn should be the target, since corn as we know it is a man-made genetically modified food, albeit by the slow process of cross-breeding.  The very existence of corn is one of the great triumphs of pre-Columbian agriculture.)

A key element of progressive politics is to apply western middle class perspectives to Third World problems.  In this case, Europeans who are wealthy and well-fed have time and capacity to worry about problems at the margin, such as "might GM corn somehow have a negative health effect on one in a million people?"  I believe this concern is absurd even at the margin in western society, but it becomes criminally insane when applied to countries beset with abject poverty and starvation.  So we would rather let a million people starve than have one person face some hypothetical health risk?

This same approach can be seen in a myriad of other instances.  For example, progressive wish to prevent Nike from building factories in the Third World that hire locals for fifty cents a day.  Again, the middle class western perspective:  I would never take a job that paid $5 a day for ten hours of labor, so they should not either.  But this is in countries where more than half of the population makes less than $1 a day performing subsistence farming for perhaps 12-14 hours a day, and even then risk starvation when the crop fails.  The Nike factory represents incredible salvation for many.  Do we all hope they will do even better economically in the future?  Sure, but you can’t step from unskilled subsistence farming for a dollar a day to middle manager at GE all in one step.

And then there is climate.  The climate change hysteria, and the associated calls for reductions 80% or higher in CO2 output, is the greatest threat to the world’s poor that has existed since the bubonic plague.  And yes, I mean the hysteria, not climate change itself.  Because if the world gets warmer because of man’s CO2  (an iffy proposition), the poor might or might not be worse off.  After all, it was during warm periods of the past that the poor thrived, such as the population boom in Europe during the Medieval warm period.  But if the world’s governments agree to shut down fossil fuel production and reduce the size of economies, over a billion people who are set to emerge from poverty over the next few decades will instead be doomed to remain poor.  Progressive environmentalists are not even subtle about what they want — they are seeking a poorer, lower-tech worldThey are selling poverty.

Brendan O’Neil writes in this vein:

In these various scandalous schemes, we can glimpse the iron fist that lurks within environmentalism’s green velvet glove. ‘Cutting back carbon emissions’ is the goal to which virtually every Western politician, celebrity and youthful activist has committed himself. Yet for the poorest people around the world, ‘reducing carbon output’ means saying no to machinery and instead getting your family to do hard physical labour, or it involves collecting cow dung and burning it in an eco-stove in order to keep yourself warm…. Carbon-offsetting companies have encouraged Kenyans to use dung-powered generators and Indians to replace kerosene lamps with solar-powered lamps, while carbon-offsetting tree-planting projects in Guatemala, Ecuador and Uganda have reportedly disrupted local communities’ water supplies, led to the eviction of thousands of villagers from their land, and cheated local people of their promised income for the upkeep of these Western conscience-salving trees….

Carbon offsetting is not some cowboy activity, or an aberration, or a distraction from ‘true environmentalist goals’ – rather it expresses the very essence of environmentalism. In its project of transforming vast swathes of the developing world into guilt-massaging zones for comfortable Westerners, where trees are planted or farmers’ work is made tougher and more time-consuming in order to offset the activities of Americans and Europeans, carbon offsetting perfectly captures both the narcissistic and anti-development underpinnings of the politics of environmentalism. Where traditional imperialism conquered poor nations in order to exploit their labour and resources, today’s global environmentalist consensus is increasingly using the Third World as a place in which to work out the West’s moral hang-ups….

Carbon-offsetting also shines a light on the dangerously anti-development sentiment in environmentalism….

In the near term, countries are already using global warming as an excuse for protectionism, and in particular are cutting off imports from poorer countries that are trying to make some economic progress:

There is little that angers me more than disingenuous attempts to employ ‘global warming’ as an argument against trade, especially against trade from the developing world. More often than not, blatant self-interest – that is, old-fashioned protectionism by another name -  is being masked beneath self-righteous, middle-class gobbledygook.               

               

Such a case is brilliantly exposed today by Dominic Lawson writing in The Independent [‘Food miles are just a form of protectionism. Middle-class neurosis is being exploited to protect an archaic form of agriculture’ (April 1)]:

               

“Was Prince Charles’ chum Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, expecting the Kenyan High Commissioner to fall to his knees in gratitude? It rather sounded like it yesterday morning, when the two of them met in a BBC radio studio.

               

They were there to discuss the Soil Association’s proposals to discriminate against the ‘organic food’ which is air freighted into this country, mostly from East Africa. ‘One option was to ban it altogether,’ declared Mr Holden, but instead he and his colleagues had decided that such food would only be banned if it was ‘not produced ethically’ – whatever that means….

“On the whole it is a ‘lifestyle choice’ limited to middle-class mothers in the South-east of England who are neurotic enough to believe the insinuations of the Soil Association that little Henry and Caroline are more likely to get cancer if mummy doesn’t buy organic (at twice the price).    
Now another largely middle-class neurosis – we are all doomed unless everybody stops flying! – is being exploited to protect an archaic form of agriculture which could never feed this country, still less the world. It is, at best, an exercise in self-delusion. At worst, it is a way of using food as the instrument of a deliberate policy of racial discrimination.”

Maxed Out Mamma has more on the global warming excuse for protectionism:

I am genuinely concerned that environmental concerns are being used as a proxy for protectionist economic legislation and may have severe consequences. I would like to discuss this article from a Canadian source about carbon taxation:

Imposing carbon tariffs on emerging economies with low manufacturing costs and high greenhouse gas emissions could drive some manufacturers back to Western countries, according to two economists.

Jeff Rubin, chief strategist and economist at CIBC World Markets, thinks such tariffs could emerge quickly. Countries in Europe are already becoming publicly intolerant of emissions elsewhere and the next president of the United States is expected to institute a cap on greenhouse gas emissions alongside the trading of carbon credits.

…Europe is in an extremely protectionist mood, and I believe one of the reasons for the non-scientifically based focus on carbon is that it serves as a justification for tariffs. If the next president does institute carbon tariffs, the result will have a real impact on world trade.

I believe that many politicians are being deeply dishonest about their "environmental" concerns. I also believe that instituting a carbon tariff will cause Asian growth to slow remarkably and further destabilize the world economy. The rise in food prices is very dangerous because it has an impact on the ability of emerging market countries to support consumption increases necessary to rebalance trade. If you add to the situation by doing something like this, you could recreate the conditions which caused the Great Depression.

On This Site’s Comments

To answer a question in the comments, I do not moderate comments on this site except to occasionally delete obvious advertising spam (and even that I can be pretty slow to get to).  This is in contrast to sites like RealClimate, which have been known to moderate out dissenting opinion.  Also, I seldom participate in the comment threads, so y’all should not necessarily assume that by not replying I have somehow been silenced by your wit.  I am just too busy to keep up with online flame wars in the same way that I used to get sucked into them.  I read the comment threads, and then try to refine my arguments in my posts in the future.

I will observe the the discourse has become a bit, uh, course at times of late.  I get it that this is an emotional topic. 

At most sites, this would result in a plea at this point for civility.  I am not going to do that, exactly.  I am just going to observe that looking back over the comment threads, those of you who are resorting to name calling and other kindergarten-level debating tactics are not helping your position very well.

There is nothing I hate more than to be in a debate / discussion, trying to carefully and logically defend my position, only to have someone jump in, supposedly on "my side" and say something like "YOU LIBERALS ALL SUCK!"  So, this is an official plea for civility from those who agree with me.  Let’s hold the intellectual high ground.   Everyone else can curse and flame to their heart’s content ;=)

Postscript:  And since we are dealing with issues in the comments, yes, my spelling and proofreading is are often terrible.  mea culpa

Media Coverge of Climate Exposed

I won’t do a comprehensive roundup, but just focus on one quote, from the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

News of accelerating effects of global warming, such as the recent collapse of a massive chunk of Antarctic ice and worsening cyclones and flooding, has put even more pressure on the UN talks to provide decisive action.

There are only two ways that anyone with a lick of information about climate could call the recent ice shelf collapse "evidence" of accelerating global warming:  Bias, or abject ignorance.  Here are four key facts that the CBC article ignores but I posted here:

  • Global temperatures have been flat for 8-10 years, after being up substantially the decade previously.
  • Recent ocean measurement work as reported on NPR show ocean temps. over last 5-6 years to be flat to slightly down
  • 98% of Antarctica has cooled over the last decades and has built up ice pack — 2% has warmed (in the Antarctic Peninsula). I will leave it to the reader to guess where Al Gore sent his cameras
  • In August 2007, or about a half year ago, sea ice extent around Antarctica was the largest ever recorded (since measured by satellites in 1979). So, within the last 6-8 months, Antarctica had record sea ice buildup.

Given this backdrop, it is astounding that one could interpret the collapse of an ice sheet that happened faster than one scientist predicted as "accelerating global warming." I can’t think of any mechanism where the behavior of an ice shelf would be a more sensitive measure of the pace of global temperature change than would be the direct measurement of air and sea temperatures themselves. 

An even minimally thoughtful analysis would argue that the ice shelf collapse is either 1) a natural cyclic event or 2) the result of a very local weather phenomenon.

And don’t even get me started on the "worsening cyclones and flooding."  Where?  By what measure.  I challenge anyone to point to a single study that shows worsening cyclones or flooding.  The only ones I have seen that have purported to do so (such as "an Inconvenient Truth") have done so by ignoring the improvement in detection technology or the increase in real estate value along coasts and flood plains.  When the latter are accounted for, no increases have ever been demonstrated.

There are reasonable ways to argue that the earth has warmed over the last half-century.  Citing an ice shelf collapse or increased media coverage on flooding (which creates the impression there is more) as evidence are not among them.