Extrapolating From A Single Data Point: Climate and Sandy

I have a new article up at Forbes on how crazy it is to extrapolate conclusions about the speed and direction of climate change from a single data point.

Positing a trend from a single database without any supporting historical information has become a common media practice in discussing climate.  As I wrote several months ago, the media did the same thing with the hot summer, arguing frequently that this recent hot dry summer proved a trend for extreme temperatures, drought, and forest fires.  In fact, none of these are the case — this summer was not unprecedented on any of these dimensions and no upward trend is detectable in long-term drought or fire data.   Despite a pretty clear history of warming over the last century, it is even hard to establish any trend in high temperature extremes  (in large part because much of the warming has been in warmer night-time lows rather than in daytime highs).  See here for the data.

As I said in that earlier article, when the media posits a trend, demand a trendline, not just a single data point.

To this end, I try to bring so actual trend data to the trend discussion.

13 thoughts on “Extrapolating From A Single Data Point: Climate and Sandy

  1. netdr

    Since CO2 s[reads heat like a blanket it should cause milder storms.

    Haven’t these clowns taken thermodynamics ?

  2. Chuck L

    Warren, excellent article but we all know that (unfortunately) it will not change the mind of the MSM, ignorant politicians, or a single global warming “believer.”

  3. netdr

    Explain if you are able!

    Thermo clearly shows that more even heating causes milder storms. Don’t you agree ?

    Even if it were slightly warmer, which hasn’t happened for 14 years, the storms should be milder.

  4. netdr

    Hurricane energy is at a 30 year low.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=hurricane+energy+graph&num=10&um=1&hl=en&tbo=d&biw=1272&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbnid=emvUky8sUKnQfM:&imgrefurl=http://mensnewsdaily.com/2010/03/03/climategate-more-science-fiction-from-the-ipcc/&docid=2tIrJg5AKNDWZM&imgurl=http://mensnewsdaily.com/images/misc/tipler/a.jpg&w=450&h=230&ei=r4maULLJMMjnrAG234HoCQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=352&vpy=176&dur=642&hovh=159&hovw=311&tx=167&ty=82&sig=105108718359575136910&sqi=2&page=1&tbnh=138&tbnw=271&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0,i:77

    How do you explain that ?

  5. netdr

    Since CO2 acts like a blanket it should spread the heat more evenly causing less violent storms.

    The alarmists like Jeffry don’t want you to know that !

  6. milo

    Normally the Bermuda High pulls them safely out to sea. Occasionally this high is weak or absent, as was the case in 1938 and in 1956. And a hurricane will slam into New England.

    It would be interesting to check whether the Bermuda High has become more persistent lately than it’s been in the past. My guess would be yes, although we have had a couple of recent storms going straight across Bermuda. But in any case what we’re seeing is consistent with the prediction that in a warming world we’ll be seeing fewer storms but stronger storms.

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