Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Cold Weather and Climate Change

I frequently hear claims of how cold weather, such as the current system gripping the eastern US, is evidence climate change isn't real. The title of this posting sums up the reality - one is weather (what you get from moment to moment) and the other is climate (the long-term average of weather). That should really say it all. But, let's look closer, just for the fun of it.

Winter is caused by the tilt of the Earth's axis - 23.5 degrees relative to the plane of the ecliptic. That means the north pole is in daytime for six months and nighttime for another six. The entire polar cap has varying amounts of night and day with the Arctic Circle being the limit of locations experiencing any day of continuous daytime or nighttime. (The same is true for the south pole and the Antarctic Circle, with the seasons reversed.) Again, this is due to the tilt of the planet and will not change with any changing climate. In other words, there will always be a winter.

As a result, there is a huge mass of air that will be sitting in extended nights for months on end and will get cold. Even if it warms up (and the Arctic is warming faster than any other part of the planet), it will still be really cold - negative 40 is warmer than negative 50, but still cold. Given a stable system, that cold air mass would sit in the Arctic and we would never see it. But, the system isn't stable. Even without climate change, there are currents and systems that mix up the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) and move air around.  Put extra energy into the system and this mixing becomes more pronounced. It takes a lot of energy to move air around.

And, that brings up the point - how much energy does it take to move an Arctic air mass? We can do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation to see it is an extreme amount. Take a look at the image below. This is a plot of the temperature anomaly. You can see the cold air mass over the eastern US in blue. You can also see the hotter than normal air mass over the Arctic, Europe and northern Asia in red. When that cold air moved out, something had to move in to take it's place.

Source: CCI

I'm going to estimate that blue area, the Arctic air mass, is about 3000 miles across. That's a radius of 1500 miles, about 8 million feet. The area of a circle is pi*r^2, giving us an area of about 2 x 10^18 square feet. There are 144 square inches per square foot, so this mass has an area of roughly 2.9 x 10^20 square inches. Standard atmospheric pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch (you were wondering where I was going, weren't you?), meaning this cold air mass weighs about 4.2 x 10^21 pounds. That's a lot of weight.

Like I said, left to itself, it would just sit there. We need energy to move it. We're not going to consider all of the complications, such as friction with the ground, internal friction, changing pressure going over landforms, moving air in to replace it, etc. We're simple going to look at the kinetic energy of this mass when it moves. The equation for kinetic energy is one-half*m*v^2. To do this properly, let's change our weight to metric. There are 2.2 lbs per kilogram at the Earth's surface (we need that stipulation because we're going from weight to mass). Our calculated weight has a mass of about 1.9 x 10^21 kilograms. Let's use a standard velocity of 1 meter per second (2.2 mph). We can then multiply our result to get a value for different velocities.

Using those numbers, the kinetic energy of our air mass is about 10^21 joules. In comparison, a one megaton nuclear weapon has a yield of about 4 x 10^15 joules. That means this air mass would need the energy equivalent of around 250,000 one megaton nuclear weapons to move.

And, that is at a rate of only 2.2 mph (1 m/s).

Give the air mass a typical velocity of around 30 mph (13.6 m/s) and you need 1.3 x 10^22 joules of energy - about 3.4 million one megaton nuclear weapons. And, that's just the kinetic energy. Throw in all of those complications we didn't consider and you can the total energy involved is going to be much, much larger.

All of that energy MUST come from somewhere.

So, next time someone jokes about how we need more global warming on a cold day, you can point out how global warming makes it more likely we're going to see cold days like this.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Reality isn't helping climate change deniers

The anti-science climate change deniers have many problems. One of them is the fact that there is no science to support their claims. Another is the fact that reality doesn’t conform to what they claim - no matter how much they wish otherwise.

An example of the latter is a bet a climate scientist made with a couple of solar physicists in 2005.  British climate change modeler James Annan invited climate change deniers to put their money where their mouths are. Not surprisingly, he had difficulty finding any takers. In other words, the anti-science people didn’t have faith in their own claims. He finally found a couple of takers in Russian solar physicists Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev and entered a bet with them for $10,000 that that the six years between 2012 and 2017 would be warmer than the six years between 1998 and 2003. The official numbers aren’t out yet, but the data indicates Annan has won the bet.  The solar physicists claimed that global warming is due to solar activity and not CO2concentrations. Since solar activity is declining, they reasoned the planet would be cooling over time. Too bad for them they didn’t study their physics better. While it is true the solar activity is declining (and a fatal flaw in the reasoning of people who claim warming is due to solar activity), the decline has been small and is dwarfed by the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Not to worry, though. They’ve had twelve years to save-up the money.

An interesting thing about this bet is that a well-known British denier, Piers Corbyn, claimed he would like to enter a bet like that. But, when Annan offered the bet to him, he merely claimed he never received the email. Of course, once he was told about it, he could easily have contacted Annan if he really was that confidant of his claims, but didn’t.

Of course, Marc Morano also failed to take a similar bet from Bill Nye. Richard Lindzen, the disgraced climate denier who was once a professor at MIT, agreed to the bet with Annan, but wanted 50-1 odds. He would collect $10,000 if he won, but would only have to pay $200 if he lost. Once again, it’s interesting these guys go around making claims, but don’t have enough faith to take a wager. I wonder why Lindzen didn't offer the odds in reverse since he claims he is so sure of himself. No, actually, I don't wonder at all.

But, there are those who have taken the wager. The results? Every single climate change denier who has taken a bet has lost.

All of them.

In fact, there are so many failed predictions by the deniers that Dana Nuccitelli wrote an entire book about them: Climatology vs.Pseudoscience. They don't have a very good track record on their claims. But, that really isn't surprising.

It’s interesting how reality simply isn’t helping the deniers with their claims. But, that’s the difference between being anti-science and accepting the science – reality doesn’t care which one you do.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Donald Trump - The Low-IQ President

I think it's time for everyone to admit that Donald Trump simply is not very intelligent. There's an old saying that people usually get the government they deserve. It's certainly true in this case. We allowed two horribly despicable people to be the main party candidates. We were bound to get a corrupt and unqualified president. Take your pick.

So, how do we get out of this mess? The first thing is to admit we screwed up. Between the two of them, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were nominated by only 11% of the eligible electorate. And, despite the frequent claims, Clinton did NOT win the popular vote. Where I come from, the term 'won the popular vote' means that you got the majority of the votes. Getting MORE votes does not qualify. The truth is, Clinton was REJECTED by 52% of the voters and Trump was REJECTED by 54%. Meaning, the two main candidates were both rejected by the people, but we got stuck. Someone had to win.

Maybe if a few more people had voted in the primaries things would be different. I plead guilty to this charge. I'm a devoted independent and refuse to be a member of any political party. Both the Democrats and the Republicans clearly demonstrated they are not worthy of my allegiance. But, what if a bunch of us 89% had showed up and voted in the primaries for someone else?

People get the government they deserve.

And, now we have the latest manifestation of this low-IQ individual being in the driver's seat. I'm sure you've read or heard about Trump tweeting that climate change is a good thing and we need more of it because the eastern US is gripped by record cold. This means we have a president who doesn't even know the difference between weather and climate making the key decisions on the matter. Plenty of sources rushed to try and educate him, but to no avail. Quite simply, Trump is not intelligent enough to understand the science, so he rejects it. Oh, by the way, what ever happened to climate change being a hoax? How can climate change be a good thing when he's already declared it's a hoax?

And, of course, the are of the country experiencing the cold is actually a small area on the planetary scale. Take a look at this plot of temperature anomalies in the western part of the northern hemisphere, including the US. The red areas are warmer than normal, the blue ones are colder than normal.

Source: CCI

The red areas are clearly more extensive than the blue ones.

What was that about a hoax?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Fossil fuel shills cannot be trusted

The only people who work against the reality of manmade global warming and climate change are people who have financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. They are paid shills. The only response these shills can make is that being paid by the industry doesn't affect their credibility. In a nutshell - Yes, it does. The comic below captures the reality of this perfectly. In short, there's a reason why the only people undermining the science are paid by the fossil fuel industry - there is no valid science to support their claims.

Credit: On The Fastrack

Monday, December 25, 2017

Charles Dickens Was Right

“Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask,” said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit’s robe, “but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?”

“It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it,” was the Spirit’s sorrowful reply. “Look here.”

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

“Oh, Man! look here. Look, look, down here!” exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

“Spirit! are they yours?” Scrooge could say no more.

“They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!” cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. “Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse. And bide the end!”
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Dickens wrote those words in 1843 - 174 years ago. Things haven't changed much. Ignorance and Want are still our children and roam the land. And, Doom is still written on the brow of Ignorance.  It is a fight we must not lose. In particular, I'm speaking of the anti-science people who are undermining all efforts to address global warming and climate change. Truly, Doom is written on their foreheads.

But, A Christmas Carol was a tale of redemption. Even the the worst among us, he told us, is capable of changing their ways.

Let us hope.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Corporations are about to pummel anti-science deniers

There is a movement underway where corporations are pledging to report on the effects of climate change in a standardized way, much the same way they report earnings. Currently, about 240 corporations have signed a pledge to do so.

The importance of this is this information will now become input for investors and shareholders. What that means is the corporations are bound by law to report accurately how climate change is affecting their operations and to provide reliable forecasts of future effects. Failure to do so will be fraud and will not only subject the corporation to fines, but the executives involved would also be facing prison time.

ExxonMobil is an example of this. They failed to reveal to share holders and investors that they knew the hazards of climate change. Instead, they were busy funding anti-science organizations in order to undermine the science and prevent preventative actions from being taken. Now, they are under investigation. ExxonMobil has recently vowed to reveal the risks it faces from climate change. Hopefully, this will be too little, too late and Exxon will face severe repercussions for its actions.

Now that many corporations, with more to come, will be legally required to accurately report the risks they face as a result of climate change, it will be interesting to see just how thoroughly their reports rebuke claims made by the anti-science crowd.

Stay tuned and watch the financial sections.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Alarmist Tom Harris Demonstrates Desperation of Science Haters

Tom Harris, the paid fossil fuel shill, has a long history of hating science. Remember? This is the guy who says science is only an opinion. According to him, gravity is only an opinion. I guess we should immediately ground all aircraft. According to Harris the Bernoulli principle is merely an opinion. And, don't bother with brakes on your car. According to Harris, friction is nothing more than someone's opinion.

If the paid science-hating shills hadn't sufficiently demonstrated their desperation with this bizarre line of reasoning, they have now doubled-down with the bizarreness. According to them, reducing CO2 pollution will lead to massive famines in just a few decades. Really. In his December 3, 2017 letter to the editor of the Regina Leader-Post, science-hater Harris stated,
Efforts to reduce CO2 emissions will result in “reduced agricultural yields, higher food prices and growing food insecurity that will disproportionately burden the poor,” said Idso. This would cause “undernourishment and potential starvation of hundreds of millions of persons just a few short decades from now,” Idso warned.
Harris was quoting Craig Idso who spoke at the highly ignored America First Energy Conference in Houston, Texas on November 9. The only people who attended were anti-science people and it was not even covered in the press. Do you wonder why after reading the above statement? Notice the "America First" in the name, clearly aligning with Trump's "America First" policies.

If you aren't familiar with him, Craig Idso is a former employee of Peabody Energy with strong ties to the Western Fuels Association. He has also received large amounts of funding from the Heartland Institute. Heartland is the group that compared climate scientists to Charles Manson (may he rest in Hell) and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and has nominated for appointment to the EPA a man who was arrested for raping his children and convicted of attempted sodomy on his own under-age daughter. This is a lovely group of people and now they want to tell you that pollution is good for you. And they want you to believe it!

Note to the science-haters: crops and plants grew just fine before we started polluting the atmosphere. And, even if we stopped emitting CO2 today, it would take at least many centuries to remove the CO2 we have already put into the atmosphere.

This demonstrates that the science-haters are growing increasingly desperate. They are resorting to more and more extreme claims. What is particularly interesting is the way they have denigrated climate scientists by referring to them as 'alarmists' for discussing the effects of global warming and climate change. Now, we find them predicting massive famines if we don't continue to pollute the atmosphere.


Who's the alarmist now, Tom?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Science Under Trump

One of the great achievements of the space age is the use of satellites to help us forecast weather. A hurricane hit Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900, killing between 6000 and 12,000 people. Compare that to today when this past fall saw three major storms hit the United States with a total death toll between them of 196. The official list of casualties from Puerto Rico is probably way off, but even if the correct number is in the hundreds, we can see the total number of casualties from the three storms combined is a tiny fraction of what happened in Galveston. The difference? Advance warning.

The reason the death toll in Galveston was so high was because no one knew there was a hurricane on the way. Accounts of that day consistently tell of how people went about their normal business with no idea of what was about to happen. In contrast, people ahead of the storms this year were given plenty of advance warning to prepare. A great deal of the advance warning was a result of the data provided by the weather satellites.

I was encouraged when I read of the recent, successful launch of a new next-generation weather satellite. NOAA-20 is the first of four planned JPSS (Joint Polar Satellite System) satellites equipped with the latest instruments and the ability to push forecasts of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, out to as much as seven days. This satellite is a true scientific marvel and will serve the country well.

So, why is Trump trying to cancel it?

The White House budget for further development of the JPSS program is $50 million. The Senate budget has proposed $419 million. Trump has slashed the budget for the first two missions by more than 50%, from $369.3 million to $180 million. Is this really a cut and not a money shuffle? Well, the Senate Committee on Appropriations “strongly” rejected the administration’s proposed PFO budget cut, stating that it and the unspecified postponement of the PFO satellites “would introduce a weather forecasting risk that this Committee is unwilling to accept.”

Yes, it’s a cut.

Again, you have to wonder why Trump would cut such a vital program that benefits so many Americans. The answer is distressingly simple. Donald Trump, and the people he brought with him to the Executive Branch, hate science. They hate everything about science and everything it does for us.

We can begin with the appointments of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA – one of the most corrupt individuals in Washington and a dedicated hater of anything science. You could also start with the attempted appointment of Sam Clovis to be the chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture, even though he did not hold the necessary minimum qualifications for the position and has a long record of hating science. But, we won’t. Those two points have been hashed over enough. Instead, let’s examine Trump’s budget proposal for federal science programs.

One of the most pathetic sights was the way the NASA budget faced a $600 million decrease in funding (3.1%), but the NASA Administrator was then had to state, “We would like to thank President Trump for his support of the agency in signing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017.”

I guess it could’ve been worse. And, it was for many other science programs. Trump’s proposed budget released last spring had cuts of 29% for the EPA budget, 17% for the National Institutes of Health, 11% for the National Science Foundation (NSF), 16% for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 15% for the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the DOE’s Office of Science and Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy would see a cut of 93%.

Keep in mind these agencies were already severely under funded the previous year. Now, Trump wants to reduce that inadequate funding by a significant amount. For example, NSF was able to approve only 21% of grant proposals in 2016 and expected that rate to fall to 19% in 2017. That is not enough to support the country’s scientific infrastructure. And, former NOAA administrator Conrad Lautenbacher was quoted as saying, “NOAA already functions on a budget well below national requirements. This reduction on top would mean the loss of vital programs that support fisheries, agriculture, transportation, ocean and coastal management, and the scientific research and development essential to national prosperity now and in the future.” That is what Trump wants to do to science in this country. (The good news is that Congress has largely rejected Trump’s recommendations.)

The most egregious example of Trump’s hatred of all-things science is climate change. A Yale Program on Climate Change Communication survey shows that 58% of the public accepts that climate change is mostly caused by human activity. A survey by AP-Norc and the Energy Policy Institute at The University of Chicago put that figure at 61%. These polls indicate a majority of American citizens, regardless of party affiliation, believe that climate change is a serious issue demanding urgent political action.

Trump’s response? A dramatic slashing of all funding related to climate change. Oh, remember how the anti-science crowd kept saying the science wasn’t settled and they only wanted a debate? Remember how Pruitt was proposing a red team/blue team debate? We can see the lies now. Just like everything else the anti-science crowd puts out there, there is no truth in what they say. Only support for the fossil fuel industry providing them with PAC money.

And that, unfortunately, is what climate change has become – special interests money versus science. Science is winning and will eventually overcome the special interests. But, the damage done in the meantime will be hard to fix. But, I get the impression that is exactly what Trump and his people want.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Air Pollution, Scott Pruitt and Heartland Institute

I've read some articles recently that highlight how the corruption of the Trump administration will affect all of us in coming years. Appropriately, it will even affect the people behind these actions.

Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, has appointed Robert Phalen to the agency's Scientific Advisory Board after being recommended by the Heartland Institute, that great champion of anti-science. Phalen is noted for saying the air is "too clean" and we need to breathe more irritants in order for our bodies to learn how to fight them off and that modern air is too clean for "optimum health."

Really. He actually said that.

Let's take a look at another article, this one published by Science News to see just how invalid his statements are. The article, The list of diseases linked to air pollution is growing lists a number of health problems associated with air pollution. These include:
  • 200,000 premature deaths in the United States every year due to particulate air pollution;
  • A study of 20 of the largest US cities showed the highest death rates occurred the day after particulate concentrations reached their highest levels;   
  • A study of deaths in Boston showed that daily deaths over a decade peaked on days when three pollutants were at their highest levels even though those levels were below the EPA recommended levels;
  • The American Heart Association published an article in 2004 stating "a strong case" that air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the US;
  • A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 showed an increase of 10 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter of air increased the risk of dying from heart attack or stroke by 76 percent and the risk of any kind of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent; 
  • The American Heart Association updated its position in 2010 that 'the overall evidence is consistent" with a causal relationship between particulate pollution and cardiovascular disease;
  • A paper published in 2012 found results consistent with these previous results, stating even mild levels of particulate pollution increased the risk of stroke by 34 percent within a day of exposure;
  • Several studies have shown breathing polluted air leads to animals and children developing diabetes symptoms more frequently than control subjects breathing clean air;
  • Studies indicate certain pollutants are found to mimic or disrupt actions of hormones, contributing to weight gain;
  • Studies have shown children exposed to traffic air pollution have, on average, a higher BMI than children breathing clean air;
  • Experiments involving lab animals have shown animals exposed to polluted air gain more weight than animals breathing clean air even though their diets are identical;
  • People exposed to the most air pollution are the ones most likely to develop dementia;
  • Early results indicate a possible link between Parkinson's disease and air pollution.
This air pollution discussed in this article comes from power plants, industries, vehicles, and other sources of fuel burning. Included in this pollution are carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Chemical reactions of  nitrogen oxides with volatile organic compounds creates ozone, a particularly noxious pollutant. Studies show higher mortality rates in areas with areas with higher levels of sulfate particles in the air. 

Oh, and remember the advisor to the EPA says the air is too clean.

If left to Scott Pruitt, this is what our air will look like. I took these pictures recently while traveling in the western US.

Dinosaur Valley National Monument - Northern Colorado. The National Parks Service says the air pollution is from local power plants. You can see approximately 10 miles in this picture. On a clear day you can see nearly five times as far.

A power plant near Pueblo, Colorado. Do I need to say more?
As I said at the beginning, the justice is that the people behind all of this breathe the same air as the rest of us.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Editorial: Why I Refuse to Publish Arguments of Climate Change Deniers

This was published last July, but is very relevant. The editor of the Rossland Telegraph stated her position very succinctly.


Source: Rossland Telegraph

Thursday, November 16, 2017

History of Ball and Harris is not an ad hominem attack

I recently submitted an editorial to the Moultrie News in response to a deceptive piece written by Tom Harris and Tim Ball. In my response, I attacked the credibility of the two individuals and showed they have a history of deception. Harris then went on his Facebook page and asked supporters to go and comment on my submission. You can read my submission, with comments, here. You can read the piece by Ball and Harris here.

As you can see, the defenders of Ball and Harris had no science to support their objections, never countered any of my claims, and consistently claimed I was only making an ad hominem attack to make my case. This, of course, is a false statement and completely in line with the science haters who deny the reality of manmade climate change. What is particularly amusing is the way several of them made ad hominem attacks by claiming I have no published refereed papers. My publication list is not extensive (I concentrate on teaching more than research), but it is certainly there and the reality of the science is not changed by how many papers I have, or have not, published. So, according to these individuals, my statements concerning Harris and Ball are invalid because they can’t operate something as simple as Google Scholar (search “CF Keating physics”).

But, the question is still there: Did I make a personal attack on Ball and Harris? Let’s take a look, beginning with the definition of ad hominem:

ad ho·mi·nem
adverb and adjective

(of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

A strict interpretation of this definition would mean any claim concerning any mention of anything about a person is an ad hominem attack and is, therefore, a logical fallacy. But, that is not correct. There are times when attacks on the individual are warranted. For example, it is perfectly acceptable in a court of law to examine the character and credibility of a witness. As a rule, it is admissible to attack the character of a witness when that character has been introduced as evidence. In other words, once someone makes a claim concerning the nature of their character, it is fair game to examine that character but not before. If a drug dealer takes the stand and testifies, you can’t attack him for being a drug dealer unless he claims to be an upright citizen (although there may be other ways the fact can be introduced).

What about credibility, though? Let me quote a law source:

The rules of impeachment allow an attorney to attack the credibility of any witness even a witness called in support of that attorney’s position. An attorney may use any evidence to impeach the credibility of a witness but that rule is not automatic. In most cases courts will only allow an attorney to attack a witness’s credibility using evidence of prior convictions involving dishonesty or untruthfulness. While a court may allow an attorney to question a witness about other incidents in their past, a judge will not allow this line of questioning if he/she determines that it is not probative (tending to prove) in establishing whether a witness is telling the truth or not.

That is all well and good, but the important point is that we are not in a court of law, we are in a public discourse and attacking someone’s character is not logically valid. But, I did not attack the character of either Ball or Harris. Attacking their character would be to make a claim about their private lives. What they do in their private lives has no bearing on the reality of climate change, one way or the other. And, I’m not aware that either Ball or Harris has made claims that they are wonderful people, so it wouldn’t fall under the category of examining their statements. They have both committed fraud concerning their credentials (Harris allows himself to be introduced as ‘Dr. Harris,’ ‘Professor Harris,’ and even as a ‘scientist.’ He is none of these. Ball claims to be a climatology expert and a professor of climatology. He is not.), but that falls under attacking their credibility and not their character.

What is important to understand at this time is that a character attack is usually a logical fallacy but credibility attacks are ALWAYS valid. Quoting from Wikipedia on the subject:

However, in some cases, ad hominem attacks can be non-fallacious; i.e., if the attack on the character of the person is directly tackling the argument itself. For example, if the truth of the argument relies on the truthfulness of the person making the argument—rather than known facts—then pointing out that the person has previously lied is not a fallacious argument.

Wow! Pointing out that the person has previously lied is NOT a fallacious argument! Unfortunately for Ball and Harris, that is an important point.

To make an example, let’s say Joe Smith (a fictional person) likes to kick dogs. This is a reprehensible act and reflects poorly on the character of Joe Smith. Then, Joe Smith takes the position that everyone should eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away. The correctness, or incorrectness, of his position on this matter is not affected by his actions in private. Incidentally, this would also be true if we were talking about Joe Smith spending his spare money and time to help the disadvantaged. It works both ways. Being a saint does not change the reality of the issue any more than being a villain.

But, let’s say Joe Smith has been taking money from the Apple Farmers Association to promote apple sales. Bringing this fact to light is an attack on his credibility – he has a financial interests in telling everyone to eat an apple a day. It is not a character attack, even though the argument can be made his financial matters are private. I think most people would agree with that this is, in fact, relevant information.

But, take it one step further. Let’s say Joe Smith, while in the course of his professional duties, states that he is a medical researcher and that he has conducted medical tests on the benefits of eating apples. It is then perfectly valid to investigate this claim. If it turns out that Joe Smith never did any of that, bringing this point to light is not a character attack, it is attacking his credibility.

And, let’s take it to the next step. Suppose Joe Smith is also found to associate with people and organizations that engage in activities that are valid credibility failures (for instance, someone who has been shown to falsify medical records concerning the benefits of apples). It is a valid credibility attack to show that Joe Smith not only has associations with these individuals, but has failed to distance himself from them in any way. In other words, if Joe Smith is keeping company with and supporting individuals with questionable credibility, then it is a valid credibility attack on Joe Smith to bring this association to light.

So, let’s see what I said about Harris and Ball:

These are two people whose job it is to deceive the public about climate change and are both paid shills of the fossil fuel industry. Tom Harris has strong ties to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, even though he continues to deny it. He also has a strong affiliation with the Heartland Institute which is currently recommending the EPA appoint a man who was arrested on charges of raping his own children and convicted of attempted sodomy on his own under-age daughter. ( These are the people Tom Harris has professional association with. You can read more about his deceptions on climate change at

Contrary to his by-line, Tim Ball is a doctor of historical geography. He is not a climatologist as he claimed and was not a member of the Department of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg. There was no such department while he was there. He has never been a climate scientist and does not have any peer-reviewed papers on the subject. When Ball sued a paper for libel, the court documents stated, Ball "never held a reputation in the scientific community as a noted climatologist and authority on global warming." Continuing, the courts also stated, "The Plaintiff's credentials and credibility as an expert on the issue of global warming have been repeatedly disparaged in the media,” and "The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist."

As you can see, I never said anything about the private lives of Harris or Ball. I spoke to their professional actions and attacked their credibility. In fact, both of these individuals have had their credibility examined and they are both found to have none. Click on the links I provided above to get started, if you need some help.

To summarize:
  • Ball and Harris both have extensive associations with the fossil fuel industry and are paid to promote the interests of that industry;
  • Ball and Harris have both lied about this association on numerous occasions;
  • Ball and Harris have both lied about their credentials or permitted others to lie about them without correcting them;
  • Ball and Harris are both listed as associates of the Heartland Institute and neither has criticized that organization for it’s actions or done anything to distance themselves from it;
  • Ball and Harris have both, on numerous occasions provided false, misleading, or deceptive clams concerning climate change.
These are all actions taken in the PROFESSIONAL capacity. Addressing these issues is an attack on their credibility and is logically correct. To put it bluntly, they are both liars when it comes to making statements concerning the science of climate change. Pure and simple. And, that is NOT an ad hominem.

So, when you read anything written by either of these two, all I can say is, “Buyer beware!”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Avalanche of Disinformation from Harris and Ball

Two of biggest frauds in the anti-science industry are Tom Harris and Tim Ball. They recently ran an editorial that had numerous faults, fallacies, and false arguments that I had to respond. Essentially, they claim global warming isn't real because they want to question one data base. Of course, they conveniently forget to mention how there are numerous data bases and they all show the same thing. Also, they especially fail to mention Berkeley Earth. That's because it's the grand embarrassment for the anti-science crowd. This is an organization which was initially funded by the Heartland Institute for the purpose of showing AGW isn't real. It developed a data base completely separate from the ones used by the four governmental organizations. What did they find? Almost exactly the same thing. Hmmm. No wonder Ball and Harris fail to mention it.

You can read the original piece by Ball and Harris here. You can read my response here. I'm also reproducing it below.


Climate Change Deniers Attempt to Bury Public with an Avalanche of Propaganda

By Dr. Christopher Keating

Tim Ball and Tom Harris inform the reader with their title that they are not serious when they use the term “propaganda” to describe climate science.

information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

These are two people whose job it is to deceive the public about climate change and are both paid shills of the fossil fuel industry. Tom Harris has strong ties to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, even though he continues to deny it. He also has a strong affiliation with the Heartland Institute which is currently recommending the EPA appoint a man who was arrested on charges of raping his own children and convicted of attempted sodomy on his own under-age daughter. ( These are the people Tom Harris has professional association with. You can read more about his deceptions on climate change at

Contrary to his by-line, Tim Ball is a doctor of historical geography. He is not a climatologist as he claimed and was not a member of the Department of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg. There was no such department while he was there. He has never been a climate scientist and does not have any peer-reviewed papers on the subject. When Ball sued a paper for libel, the court documents stated, Ball "never held a reputation in the scientific community as a noted climatologist and authority on global warming."  Continuing, the courts also stated, "The Plaintiff's credentials and credibility as an expert on the issue of global warming have been repeatedly disparaged in the media,” and "The Plaintiff is viewed as a paid promoter of the agenda of the oil and gas industry rather than as a practicing scientist."

Now that we know the nature of these two individuals, we shouldn’t be surprised to find their article is full of deceptions and they do not disappoint. It’s important to note they produce not even a single scientific reference to support any of their claims. They simply want you to accept their word for it.
In the opening paragraph, Ball and Harris state, “We’ll be told that extreme weather, sea level rise, and shrinking sea ice are all about to get much worse if we do not quickly phase out our use of fossil fuels.” Strangely enough, we were told exactly that, but not by the UN Conference. The Trump administration this week released the Fourth National Climate Assessment ( Among other things, the report states, “It is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” And, “In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities.  Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.” There is more. Read the NOAA summary at: And, let’s be clear that this assessment comes from an administration that has repeatedly stated that manmade climate change is not real and has done everything in its power to undermine climate science.

Ball and Harris make several dubious comments that have no basis in reality. For instance, they claim that without a good understanding of past weather, forecasts of future climate change are “impossible.” This is a false statement in multiple ways. First, contrary to their claim, we have a good understanding of past weather conditions. And, not only is it possible to make meaningful forecasts, but we are already doing a good job of it. Again, contrary to what the science-haters will tell you, climate models are good and getting better. Read more about models here:; and here: There are many other places, but these, and the links therein, will get you started.

The science-hating tandem then attacks the data, which is a losing proposition. What Ball and Harris attempt to do is attack one data set with deceptive claims, with the hope that it will taint all data. They do this all the while failing to mention that the data are all confirmed with multiple data sources. People like Ball and Harris like to cherry-pick one datum point to support their claims (citing how a given town is experiencing the coldest temperature in some long period of time, for instance), but scientists don’t. Data is collected from multiple sources, such as tree rings or cores from sea floor and ice shelves, plus others. What we find is that the multiple sources are all consistent, each confirming the findings of the others.

They state, “Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations. And none of the Earth’s oceans, which cover 70% of the planet, had more than the occasional station separated from its neighbor by thousands of kilometers.” So? What is the significance of this statement? They give none, which is good because there is none. But they continue, stating, “Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful.” Of course, this is a false statement. What is true is that the resolution and fidelity is not ideal, but the data is most definitely meaningful, especially when confirmed by those many other data sets. And, the data is only improving with time and this improving resolution is showing the same trend as before.

They continue, claiming satellite data does not show global warming. This claim is based on papers by Roy Spencer and John Christy, two well-known climate change deniers. Review of their papers found them to be so flawed they were withdrawn. And yet, Ball and Harris want you to believe the false claims. Read about these papers here:

They then make the preposterous claim, “So, bureaucrats closed most of the colder rural surface temperature sensing stations, thereby yielding the warming desired for political purposes.” As you might expect by now, the reality is vastly different. Read a detailed report on this here:

Their conclusion from this deception? They claim the data is meaningless. Take a moment to think about this statement. They themselves claim the data has become more accurate over time, therefore, according to them, this makes it ‘meaningless.’

And, they want you to believe this.

The reality is, our understanding of the historical climate is quite good and our understanding of the present day climate is excellent and getting better. What they don’t want you to know is that the science is overwhelming conclusive and nearly all climate scientists around the world agree – manmade emissions are causing the world’s climate to change.

As it turns out, there really was an avalanche of propaganda, but it came from Ball and Harris, not the climate scientists.

Dr. Christopher Keating is a physicist and conducts research in planetary geophysics, including climate change.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Small Vicitory For The Envionment - Clovis is Gone

Trump's nominee to be the chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, has withdrawn his nomination. I've written about this guy before, as has the entire news media, and there is no question about how he is unqualified for the position and didn't even meet the minimum standards set by law (must be a scientist). But, that isn't even why he withdrew his nomination - it was his links to Russia that finally nixed him. Apparently, he was completely prepared to go into his Senate confirmation hearing to address his record of bigotry, his anti-science record, and even the fact that he is unqualified for the job. None of that phased him. But, he was not willing to face questions about his link to the Russia probe.

Trump didn't drain the swamp, he brought it with him.

However, let's not get too excited. Trump will certainly nominate someone from the same mold. Trump has clearly demonstrated he hates science, the science community, and the environment. He is using his position to inflict as much damage as possible. So, we can be confident the next nominee for the position will be a white male with a record of bigoted comments and history of hating science.

You heard it hear first.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Heartland Institute Reveals Its True Character

If you are at all familiar with the Heartland Institute you have probably formed a strong opinion of them and their character. But, there's nothing like examining their own actions to see just who they are. As they say, actions speak louder than words.

There's this report that when Heartland submitted its list of names for the proposed EPA red team/blue team debates, they included a man convicted of attempting to sodomize his own 11-year old daughter. While the attempted sodomy charge is the only one he was convicted of, he was arrested in 2006 on two counts of rape, four counts of sodomy and one count of attempted sodomy as a result of sex abuse accusations by his children dating back decades. The other charges were dropped. 

As they say, you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. And, Heartland keeps company with a man convicted of trying to sodomize his own underage daughter and was arrested on multiple charges of sexually assaulting his own children. Quite a resume.

But, it continues. Here's a partial list of some of the 'climate experts' Heartland is recommending to the EPA:

[Anthony]Watts was also on list the Heartland Institute gave to the EPA. Other names included Edwin Berry, the self-funded researcher who spews Islamophobic vitriol online and compares belief in climate change to Aztec human sacrifices; Alan Carlin, the so-called “whistleblower” who challenged the EPA’s finding that rising greenhouse gases warm the planet; and Joe Bastardi, a meteorologist who made repeated appearances on disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show to yell about why global warming isn’t a problem.

          Source: Huffington Post

Notice that not a single person listed in that paragraph has any background as a climate scientist. I guess you can also tell a lot about someone by the company they don't keep. You can see the entire list of names they submitted here.

And, there is this list of strategy points from a Joseph Bast email:

ast listed assorted “thoughts” and “highlights” in the leaked email, including:
  • “be briefing news reporters and news readers at Fox News.”
  • “reach the President by tweeting on the issue.”
  • “hold more congressional hearings.”
  • “simplify the issue by focusing on one or only a few arguments and images.”
  • “identify a few good spokespersons and focus on promoting them.”
  • “stop chasing the other side’s latest argument and focus instead on the benefits of CO2.”
  • “focus on the 'tuning scandal' that discredits the models.”
  • “turn debate from referring to median temperatures to high temperatures, which show no trend.”
  • “find independent funding for Roy SpencerDavid SchnareWillie Soon, Craig IdsoDavid Legates, etc.”
  • “push Pruitt to start a proceeding for reconsideration of the Endangerment Finding… he won’t do it without pressure”
  • “we need to be able to say 'EPA is reconsidering whether CO2 is a pollutant.'”
  • “emphasize that we are pro-science and pro-environment… and the other side is not”
  • “fundamentally challenge, reform, or replace the National Academy of Sciences, the source of much pseudoscience.”
  • “conduct a new survey of scientists to refute the 97% consensus claims.”
  • “sue a company for not increasing CO2 emissions, force a court to consider the evidence on CO2 benefits.”
                Source: DeSmogBlog

Really? They plan on suing a company because it didn't emit enough CO2? I wonder what they'll use for legal standing. Maybe they can claim there are too many healthy people using up resources and it's the responsibility of industry to kill off as many people as possible with its pollution. I also love the one about finding independent funding for the list of anti-science people. That is essentially an admission that they only place these individuals can get funding is Heartland, and Heartland is funding anti-science false research.

Also, notice the reference to Fox News. It's true, you can tell a lot about people by the company they keep. Except in this case, is it Heartland or Fox News that is getting dirty?

For fun, you can review this leaked 2012 fund-raising plan from Heartland. It's telling. In it, it talks about receiving funds from the Kochs - do I need to say more?

The facts were already in - Heartland Institute is one of the scuzziest organizations out there, as are the people associated with it. All this did was to illustrate it once again.

If you want to know more about how despicable this group is, you can read about it at these references:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 2017

I've been absent for awhile and missed the Arctic sea ice minimum. I was involved in some major projects, got wrapped up with some personal affairs, and then went on a three-week walk-about through the western US (a really great experience). But, I'm back now and ready to go back to work.

So, the sea ice minimum occurred on September 13 with an extent of 4.636 million square kilometers. My extremely way too early forecast on March 22 was for 3 million square kilometers, which I then doubled down on with my way too early forecast on July 16. The actual extent was about 55% more than that, which illustrates why you don't put much weight on way too early forecasts. The extent was at record lows through June, but cold weather late in the summer saved us from a new record minimum extent.

While this was one time I was glad to be wrong, we shouldn't get too comfortable with these results. They are still bad. This minimum was low enough to rank as the eighth-worse, but that doesn't tell the story.  The worst minimum is still the one recorded in 2012 at 3.387 million square kilometers. But, the next seven minimum extents were between 4.137 million square kilometers (2016) and 4.636 million square kilometers (2017). (In order, the other years were: 2007, 2011, 2015, 2008, and 2010.) That is a difference of less than 500,000 square kilometers. These minimum sea ice extents are crowding into a narrow range.

The trend is pretty clear. Here is the trend for the September sea ice extent (minimum):
Source: NSIDC Sea Ice Index

There is a lot of variability from year to year, but the overall trend is not only unmistakable, but alarming. There is a long-term downward trend, but we see the slope of that trend is more than -13% per decade.

Meanwhile, the current sea ice extent, while greater than at this time last year (the worst winter extent recorded), is still in excess of three standard deviations below the 1981 - 2010 average.

So,while it thankfully was not as bad as I had forecast earlier in the year, we can see the Arctic is very sick and that does not bode well for the rest of the planet.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Climate change is not about models

One of the most frequent claims deniers make to refute the science is that the models don't work. This is not only false, but irrelevant. The reality is, climate models are working quite well (Sorry, all of you anti-science people, but it's true.) But, climate change isn't about models, it's about the science - the data. If you doubt that, take a look at this nice series of graphics:

What's Really Warming the World?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Yes, this is the right time to talk about climate change

Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, has stated that now is not the time to discuss whether or not Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are partly the result of climate change. This is not surprising. Scott Pruitt is one of the most corrupt people in Washington (and that's saying a lot) and is under investigation for lying during his Senate confirmation hearing. It is documented that he would take donations from fossil fuel companies, only to conduct private communications with those same companies before acting in their favor, even so far as to submit a letter to the US Interior Secretary on the letterhead of the Oklahoma Attorney General's office, which Pruitt was head of, even though it was written by Devon Energy. He is strongly anti-science and, even though he is charged with protecting it, has a record of hating the environment. It is, therefore, not surprising that he doesn't want to discuss science.

But, he's wrong. this is the right time to discuss climate change and it's effects on the twin disasters. In fact, it is our moral responsibility to discuss it in the light of what is happening. People are dying and suffering and we need to start acting to help prevent this from happening again. What the Trump administration, and anti-science people everywhere, want is to hide until the public attention moves to something else. They don't want to have to answer to the public about how they have acted all these years to prevent exactly this kind of occurrence. By denying the reality of climate change, they prevented actions from being taken to address the problems. The amount of human suffering is directly on their heads, and they know it. Now, they don't want to face reality. Why should they? They have been denying it all along.

But, the discussions are happening, whether they want them or not. The media is pointing out the science connecting the hurricanes to climate science, and this is a good thing. I'll have more to say on Harvey and Irma in a future post, but I wanted to bring your attention to a couple of well written editorials. Amazingly enough, one of them is in the fashion magazine Vogue. Even fashion people understand science better than the head of the EPA.

This is the editorial in Vogue:

And, this one is in the New York Times:

In the meantime, do what you can to help the people who are suffering from these twin hurricanes. If the anti-science right gets its way, you could be a victim of climate change yourself in the next few years. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Trump Continues His Vendetta Against Science

President Trump has made his disdain for science clear to everyone. The appointment of the strongly anti-science Scott Pruitt to head the EPA should be proof enough. But, he has continued with numerous other appointments and actions, including withdrawing from the Paris accord. Recently, he has really proven his utter hatred of science with two other nominations: Sam Clovis and Representative Jim Brindenstine.

Trump nominated Clovis to be the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics. Essentially, this position is the chief scientist in the department and overseas the agency's $3 billion research budget. Clovis graduated from the US Air Force Academy with a bachelor's degree in political science. After graduation, he served in the USAF for 25 years as a fighter pilot and instructor, retiring with the rank of colonel. He holds an MBA from Golden Gate University and a Ph.D. in public administration from the University of Alabama. He taught economics and business at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and hosted a radio talk show.

All very fine qualifications, but none of them are applicable to the job. By law, this position must be filled by someone who is "among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education or economics." Clovis has no qualifications to justify that distinction.

But, this isn't what qualifies Clovis as someone who hates science. His comments do.

Clovis has spoken out concerning climate change and called it "junk science." He has called climate change a "hoax" and stated that it was a "campaign to redistribute the wealth." While campaigning for the US Senate in 2014, he stated, "I have looked at the sciencenand I have enough of a science background to know when I'm being boofed. And a lot of what we see is junk science." In response, I would suggest you take another look at his credentials above. In fact, he has no science background at all. No wonder he's "boofed" by the science, he's listening to the anti-science crowd and not the climate scientists.

He has stated that homosexuality is a choice, saying the science is "unsettled." (Does that phrase sound familiar?) He stated the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to pedophilia and pastors wouldn't be allowed to preach against the "aberration" that "alternative lifestyles" were to church doctrine. He has also claimed Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. When asked if he thought his words might be extreme, Clovis responded, "I don't think it's extreme. I think it's a logical extension of thought. And if you cannot follow the logic then you're denying your in denial."

And, this is who Trump wants to head a massive research program. But, Trump didn't stop there. He next had to find an new NASA Administrator because the last one resigned before Trump even took office. The agency has been under an acting administrator since then. Trump finally nominated Oklahoma US Representative Jim Bridenstine.

Bridenstine graduated from Rice University with majors in Economics, Psychology, and Business and has an MBA from Cornell University. He flies E2-C Hawkeyes in the US Navy Reserve and is the former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. He has been a US Representative since 2013. Some nice credentials. But, none of them qualify him to lead NASA, one of the most premier science agencies in the world.

He, too, is a vocal climate change denier and has been quoted several times making false statements that do not conform to the facts, such as "if you look at the Chinese and the Russian and the Indian production of carbon emissions, it is overwhelmingly massive compared to the carbon footprint of the United States of America.” (The US is currently the second largest carbon emitter. Until recently, it was long the number one emitter.) In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Bridenstine stated, "Global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago. Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles.” The facts say otherwise.

Interestingly enough, both US Senators from Florida have already stated they are opposed to his appointment. NASA is big business in Florida, remember.

We can only hope these two individuals will not have their appointments confirmed. That would slow down Trump's science hate-train a little, but I'm sure he'll find plenty of other science haters to nominate if these two aren't.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Rush Limbaugh Runs From A Hoax

After calling hurricanes a liberal hoax, Rush Limbaugh has evacuated from his home in southern Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.  I can just hear Bugs Bunny

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hurricanes Are A Hoax: Rush Limbaugh

Just how bad has it gotten in the anti-science camp? Rush Limbaugh said Monday night that hurricanes are a liberal conspiracy to convince people that climate change is real. Read about it here. Of course, that would be the liberal media's conspiracy version, so go here and listen to it for yourself. He starts talking about the hurricane at the 1:30 mark.

I'm always amazed at how incredibly ignorant the anti-science people get, but please tell me no one believes this nonsense. Just his rant about bottled and tap water is astounding. Is he really so stupid to believe the "big water" business merely pumps water out of a lake and puts it in the stores without having to worry about environmental laws?

I'm wondering if Rush ever bothered to comment on the report of the anti-science denier organization that admitted to using false data. The British-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) admitted that it used "erroneous" graphs. My guess is Rush isn't quite smart enough to figure out what that means.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Weather Extremes

While everyone's attention has been focused on the tragedy from Hurricane Harvey (more on that in a future posting), there are some other weather extremes that have been taking place.

I was talking to a friend who lives in San Francisco and she told me the temperature there was over 100 degrees. I was floored! Sure enough, the recorded temperature on September 1 was 106 degrees F. We have a word for temperatures like that in Texas - heat wave! And, we're use to temperatures over 100 degrees. How does this compare to normal San Francisco temperatures? It's the all time high temperature ever recorded there. The average high for September 1 is 70 degrees - 36 degrees cooler.

At the same time, there are wildfires raging in the west. Fires have been burning all summer and, as of September, there are dozens still burning.

This is not some cherry-picking, either. While it is true the Northwest US is experiencing widespread record high temperatures, it actually is a worldwide thing. Worldwide 2016 temperature averages were the highest ever recorded and by a wide margin, breaking the previous record, set in 2015, by .2 degrees C (.36 F). That makes 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record high average temperature. (What was that? There hasn't been any warming since when?)

The thing I find interesting is how as soon as a snowflake falls, climate change deniers are out laughing and asking 'where is global warming.' And yet, when temperature records are smashed, they remain silent. The amusing thing is that their posturing actually supports the scientific evidence. When deniers come out and say something along the lines of, 'This particular date in this particular city was the coldest day recorded in 30 years,' what they're really saying is that temperatures that used to be the norm haven't been experienced in 30 years. Why would that be?

Meanwhile, Bangladesh is suffering from the worst flooding in 40 years. Bangladesh is a country prone to severe flooding, so that statement is highly significant. The death toll in Bangladesh from this one event is estimated at 142, as of September 3. Stunningly, over 1200 people have perished in flooding in Nepal, India and Bangladesh since June.

Even without Hurricane Harvey, we see severe weather is becoming worse and worse. And now, Hurricane Irma is on the way.