William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

I don’t know if it’s irony, but it is funny

A bunch of people have gathered in Washington DC today to protest global warming. Well, a presumed cause of it: coal burning.

Here are two relevant images:
Today's DC weather forecast

Protesters

The lesson is this: climate forecasts might not be that accurate, but 12-hour meteorological predictions are pretty good.

The pictures are not necessarily ironic because, as James Hansen would say and I would agree, global warming only decreases the probability of exceptionally cold and snowy days in March in Washington—it does not eliminate their possibility.

This position is consistent with DC experiencing as many exceptionally cold and snowy days as you like. But their actual occurrence cannot but weaken the evidence for continued global warming.

Not ironic, then. But funny.

5 Comments

  1. Pete Petrakis

    March 2, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    This is a manifestation of the “Gore Effect,” so called because it has been observed that unusually cold weather often seems to accompany Al Gore whenever he goes somewhere in winter to give his slide show on global warming. Apparently it’s not limited to him and can afflict all “Stop Global Warming” activists.

  2. But what’s the change in predictive probability?

  3. Is it me or do Dr. Hanson and his minions sound shriller and shriller as they climb further and further out that untenable limb? Their passion and fervor are analogous to that of religious converts, but such a state of mind is probably to be expected when an adherent signs on to a faith-based belief system such as the good doctor’s.

  4. SteveBrooklineMA

    March 3, 2009 at 12:11 am

    You might be interested in this discussion on statistics

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/28/steigs-antarctic-heartburn/

    The more I see of climate science statistical methods, the more skeptical I become

  5. Relative to actions required to reduce CO2 emissions by the USA, Professor Pielke Jr. has posted an interesting homework assignment here: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/doing-the-math-5032 .

    The assignment is closely related to the Obama administration’s goal of reducing emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.

    All innovative solutions are welcomed, I’m sure.

    Thank you for taking time to consider making contributions to the approaches.

    Dan

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