Harvey Hype

Professor Cliff Mass (works at UW in Seattle) just published a fantastic blog post about some of the statements we’ve heard about Harvey related to Climate Change.  Read the article here:


My two favorite quotes after he lays out the evidence:

“…There is no evidence that global warming is influencing Texas coastal precipitation in the long term and little evidence that warmer than normal temperatures had any real impact on the precipitation intensity from this storm.”


“…The bottom line in this analysis is that both observations of the past decades and models looking forward to the future do not suggest that one can explain the heavy rains of Harvey by global warming, and folks that are suggesting it are poorly informing the public and decision makers.   They are using hand-waving arguments to push an agenda, which observations, theory, and modeling show to be incorrect.  Global warming is a serious issue and mankind must deal with it, but hype and exaggeration of the current effects is counterproductive in the long term….” (my emphasis on the last sentence).

I really like that last line.  He’s such a reasonable voice out there in the “Global Warming Wilderness”…enjoy your Thursday evening read!  Just remember; listen to scientists, and only the scientists.


44 Responses to Harvey Hype

    • Donaleen Kohn says:

      Really picking and choosing your scientists, huh? 97% of scientists believe in climate change. How very fox of you…

  1. Kate Baily says:

    Climate Change and Global Warming are accepted as fact by the majority of the world’s nations and scientists as evidenced by the Paris Clumate Accords that include all countries except the United States (thanks to science averse and poorly informed Trump) and a couple others. Why would you as a weather forecaster who relies on scientific information include this inaccurate and biased ‘opinion’ in your blog which should be educating the public not attempting to convert others to your viewpoint. Human activities have been determined by the scientific community to be a decisive factor in the warming of our planet which the last two years has set records for average high temp.
    I understand KATU is a conservative station but this blog post is unacceptable in it’s denial of reality.
    Science denial, religion and isolationism will not prevent the approaching climate crisis, working with the rest of the world to mitigate the existing/continuing damage to the plants is the only path forward to guarantee our children’s future and the future of the earth.

    • Boring 550' says:

      Lmao you can’t even get the station he works for right!😂😂😂 How embarrassing. P.s… he works for KPTV. And maybe you should read his global warming thoughts which actually lean towards your side.

  2. W7ENK says:

    79 at Noon. Not going to make it to 100 again today.

  3. Nahtalkin says:

    How Much Is Climate Change to Blame for Tropical Storm Harvey?
    Scientists are already starting to weigh in on how humans may have helped exacerbate the weekend’s catastrophic flooding in Texas. The consensus so far: we can’t say climate change caused Harvey, but it certainly made it worse than it could have been.
    Writing for the Guardian, Michael E. Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, points out that sea levels have risen by over six inches around Houston during the last few decades as a result of human action. That means that the water surge forced inland by the storm was six inches taller than it would have been in the past.
    But, as Hal Needham, from research firm Marine Weather and Climate in Galveston, Texas, says to the New York Times: “A two- or three-foot storm surge alone would not have been catastrophic.” Indeed, it’s the quantity of rain on top of the surge that appears to have made it such a disaster. The storm has already deposited at least 20 inches of rain, and some estimates suggest that the figure could climb to 50 inches in some areas.
    That, too, is likely to have been exacerbated by humans. Mann points out that average temperatures in the area where Harvey developed were over 1 °C higher than they would have been several decades ago. The elevated temperatures will have caused between 3 and 5 percent more moisture to evaporate into the atmosphere than would have been the case in the past, meaning that there was more water to fall as rain when the storm hit.
    Kevin Trenberth, from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, agrees. He tells the Atlantic that “the human contribution can be up to 30 percent or so of the total rainfall coming out of the storm.”
    Mann also speculates that the way Harvey has hung over Houston, offering no respite, could also be our fault. He points to his own research, which suggests that stationary weather anomalies appear to be linked to human-caused global warming.
    So, how much blame can we lay at our own feet for Harvey? By no means all: it’s a natural disaster, the result of a series of complex systems that happened to act together in a deeply undesirable way. But we definitely made things worse.
    Source: Guardian, Atlantic, New York Times Image credit: THE NATIONAL GUARD

    • umpire says:

      Houston has also paved over everything, so there are fewer wetlands to absorb rainfall. There is a reason natural systems work fairly well.

    • W7ENK says:

      Copypasta, no URL, tl;dr

    • Boring 550' says:

      Stalling fronts often result in a big amount of snow falling in a certain location. Portland was an example of that this winter. So if stalling fronts are resulting in higher snowfall, how’s that considered global warming? Now I know you’re talking about how global warming would lead to more wacky weather and that would fit into that category. But overall it seems global warming would lead to a huge lack of snowfall but if there’s all of these stalled fronts dumping massive amounts of snow how are we supposed to know it’s actually going to lead to a lack of snow? Yes, my argument is cherry picking, but yours is also cherry picking because you’re trying to further an entire agenda based off of one storm.

  4. W7ENK says:

    Massive fire at Eagle Creek in the Gorge. More than 100 hikers are trapped above the trailhead by the flames. Let’s hope they all get rescued and make it out safely!!

  5. Jason Hougak says:

    Terrible loss of the historic Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park burns to the ground in Montana.

  6. Jason Hougak says:

    This evening driving home the Indian Creek Fire looks like it’s really blowing up. Quite a large smoke plume visible and another further south. This weather is only going to make things worse.

  7. JERAT416 says:

    Not much smoke in Tigard as of yet. Mt. Hood, Adams, and St Helens are clearly visible from here and were not when it was very smoky a while back.

  8. W7ENK says:

    Only 81 at noon, it’s not going to break 100 today.

  9. Mike says:

    God’s in control…. we have been moving further from an ice age for a very long time. Captain Cooks own ships log reported how the people of Hawaii talked about a glacier that existed somewhere in the big Islands’ mtns.

  10. Alohabb says:

    With this heat wave, I’m surprised that high school sports are still going as normal. I know the policies for Heat Index at OSAA, but football teams practicing normall and volleyball going as normal with gyms without A/c. I notice college and pro soccer adjustments ….guess it’s all new to us this year.

  11. muxpux (Longview) says:

    I blame movies like “day after tomorrow”. We were told not that long ago, that global warming would cause superstorms, and all these crazy things, and we humans always like to think we are living in the future, so the first sign of anything, we make those connections.

    Hell, I just happened to discuss this very subject with a guy yesterday at the bar (there was something on the tv about harvey) and he says, “we never used to get tornado’s, now they happen every couple years and we had one go right through town!”

    Mind you, his place of work was in that ones path, so he’s got a different memory of it than I do, and its easier for people to make these connections than it is to break them.

    I swear people think our weather should be vanilla. Everything else is happening because (insert calamity)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Really, we are getting angry about the weather? Records are broken all the time. Cold ones and hot ones. We have been keeping records for such a short period of time and panic is the order of the day. Did anyone say with the fact we had many years without a substantial hurricane that there was an issue with global cooling. I am seriously ready to disengage from the stupidity when we are talking such small increments of temp changes. It is seriously ruining weather discussion. common!

  13. I sometimes have bones to pick with Mass, but he seems right on this one. There’s not much to definitively prove global warming had a lot to do with Harvey. In fact, incidence of major hurricanes on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts has gone DOWN in recent years. There’s just not much of a global warming signal in this regard… yet.

    Global warming is a very real and serious problem but telling lies about it doesn’t help.

  14. Michael Goss says:

    Cliff’s analysis, especially the part where he concludes that only a half a degree of warming can be found over the region, was pretty darn hand-wavy in and of itself. He looked at a low-resolution chart that wasn’t meant to show local scale effects and said “I think it’s about 0.5˚C.” I could easily see an argument for over 1.0˚C based on that same chart.

    And then he claims that the extra rain associated with this warming was insignificant. “Only 3.5%”. Only 3.5% (or possibly over 7% if you go with 1˚C+ of warming) was probably enough to put many of those stations into record territory, and could easily enough to change it from, say, a 100-year flood to a 500-year flood. So no, I do not agree with Dr. Mass here. One can rightly say, based on Clausius-Clapeyron, that global warming had a not-insignificant impact on the amount of rain this storm produced. It would have been a devastating storm either way, but that additional 1-3 inches of rain is probably what made this go from “historic” to “unprecedented”.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You’ve done this before-snatching a professor to calm the hysteria over climate change. How very Sean Hannity/Fox news of you. The debate is over; likewise my respect for this meteorologist’s blog.
    I’m done here.

  16. PhilS says:

    Mark, you have a more reasoned voice in all of this than Clif Mass does.

    Clif is unfortunately just as guilty of over-hype as the media he’s criticizing. Re-read the first line of the blog post you’ve linked to. “It is more than a little disturbing.” In bold. Really? Pure over-hype, plain and simple!

    Clif’s analysis, right or wrong, is welcome. But it sure looks to me like he’s jumping to conclusions that he hasn’t provided sufficient evidence for… which is EXACTLY what he’s trying to critique in the first place. Instead of asking, “Where’s the evidence for claiming that Harvey was significantly affected by climate change?”, he chooses instead to provide his own flawed arguments to show why he thinks that Harvery wasn’t</> affected by climate change. Why would he do this? Don’t we all know at this point that the link between climate change and any individual weather event is impossible to discern? Trying to argue there was no significant impact is just as bad as trying to argue that there was!

    What he’s done is turn what should have been a thoughtful reminder to think critically about how the media presents information into… a set of conclusions not supported by the Mass of data and charts that he throws at us.

    I trust your voice on this more than I trust Clif’s. Your perspective is better, your word choice is better, your humility is encouraging. I don’t get the sense that you’re trying to prove anyone wrong, or antagonize anyone. It’s refreshing.

  17. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Sure glad there aren’t any hot temperatures on the way!
    (I like warm)

    National Weather Service Portland OR
    234 AM PDT Fri Sep 1 2017

    .SYNOPSIS…High pressure aloft and a surface thermal trough will
    result in an extended period of very warm temperatures through early next week.

    • Paul D says:

      “very warm” is a very poor way of describing the upcoming week. “Disgustingly hot” would be more appropriate.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      Very warm and hot are terms that are certainly similar, but in September at least the overnight temperatures will cool off.We’re losing about 4 minutes of daylight every day.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Agree with you on that, Paul. I really like Mark’s “blazing hot” description!

  18. W7ENK says:

    Finally got some timelapses of the eclipse put together.


    Still more to come…


    • As someone who saw totality from a meadow in an area of relatively gentle terrain, those mountain views really make it look like the Moon’s shadow was advancing and passing through (which, of course, it was).

      On a related subject, Baily’s beads looked so much like distant the lunar terrain backlit by the Sun (which, of course, it is) to me that I associated it with that phrase and not “Baily’s beads” in my mind — it was only an hour or two later that I realized that I had seen Baily’s beads. Amazing to be able to see a vertical relief or maybe a km or two at 385,000 km distance with one’s naked eyes!

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      It just happened too fast, didn’t it!

    • Is that from Dixie Butte?

    • W7ENK says:

      Bald Mountain (el. 6,966)

      36 miles due East of Dixie Butte.

  19. Jason Hougak says:

    What a waste of all that rain. Too bad it couldn’t hit her and put these wildfires out. Scientists may be smart but God created scientists.

  20. Mark bergal says:

    What about throwing in the frequent NW heatwaves this Summer and in recent years? Yes, they are individual events but is the frequency, coincidence or is it a byproduct of global warming? It sure fits the predictions made years ago. With Harvey damaging the gulf and the heat and fires encompassing the northwest, it’s hard not to attribute at least some of the cause to general warming.

    • flurball says:

      Last years predictions that fell short? A stalled storm is not about global warming, We get that in the winter and it is not called global cooling when a storm spins for days off the great lakes , Not discounting that it is happening, but this is not one to hang your hat on

  21. Boring 550' says:

    Thank you!

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