In what is sure to be yet further embarrassment for advocates of the theory of man-made global warming it has emerged that climate scientists pinning the blame for the Queensland floods on global warming have been contradicting a report published by other climate scientists just weeks earlier.
Let’s start with the story from climate scientists just before the floods. On October 11th 2010 the Science Daily website reported on the publication of perhaps the most authoritative study yet on the effects of global warming on drought in the southern hemisphere.
The study “Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply” was published in the prestigious Nature magazine and, as Science Daily reported, included many of the leading climate science research institutes across the world:
This study was authored by a large group of international scientists, including from OSU; lead author Martin Jung from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany; and researchers from the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Switzerland, Princeton University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, Harvard University, and other groups and agencies.
Science Daily. Huge Parts of World Are Drying Up.
The study was an milestone for the climate science community and was an international effort. It found that soils were drying up in many parts of the southern hemisphere, including Australia and that this was leading to less moisture in the atmosphere:
Most climate models have suggested that evapotranspiration, which is the movement of water from the land to the atmosphere, would increase with global warming. The new research, published online this week in the journal Nature, found that’s exactly what was happening from 1982 to the late 1990s.
But in 1998, this significant increase in evapotranspiration — which had been seven millimeters per year — slowed dramatically or stopped. In large portions of the world, soils are now becoming drier than they used to be, releasing less water and offsetting some moisture increases elsewhere.
The study reported that Australia was one of the worst affected areas, but the loss of moisture in the atmosphere was widespread over the entire southern hemisphere.
A recent decrease in atmospheric relative humidity detected over Australia could be caused by declining ET on the Australian continent.
Jung et. al. Recent Decline in the Global Land Evapotranspirsation Trend Due to Limited Moisture Supply. Nature. 951–954(21 October 2010)
That seemed to settle matters. As Tim Flannery put it, coal fired power stations “emit much of the CO2 that is the ultimate cause of the drying”. Even more ominous, “Australia is likely to lose its northern rainfall” (New Scientist. Editorial: Australia, Not Such a Lucky Country. June 2007).
– That was before the floods –
Following the devastating Queensland floods, many activist scientists rushed to link them to global warming, and what’s more, they had a good reason why the floods were so severe – increased moisture in the atmosphere:
“I think people will end up concluding that at least some of the intensity of the monsoon in Queensland can be attributed to climate change,” said Matthew England of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
“The waters off Australia are the warmest ever measured and those waters provide moisture to the atmosphere for the Queensland and northern Australia monsoon,” he told Reuters.
World News Australia: Qld. Floods ‘Linked to Climate Change’.
Whoops. Surely he’d read the study in Nature, only weeks previously? Maybe not.
The Climate Progress could hardly contain their glee at all the scientists stepping forward to pin the blame for the floods on increased moisture in the air thanks to global warming. In a particularly tasteless story headlined Terrific ABC News Story: Raging Waters in Australia and Brazil Product of Global Warming (nice, ey?) they quoted climate scientist Richard Somerville and others on what caused the floods. Moisture in the air again, they said. Same thing that’s causing all the snow:
“Because the whole water cycle speeds up in a warming world, there’s more water in the atmosphere today than there was a few years ago on average, and you’re seeing a lot of that in the heavy rains and floods for example in Australia,” Sommervile said
Derek Arndt, chief of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring Branch in the National Climate Data Center, said 2010 was “an exclamation point on several decades of warming.
He said NOAA is tracking disasters like the floods in Brazil and Australia. “We are measuring certain types of extreme events that we would expect to see more often in a warming world, and these are indeed increasing,” Arndt said.
The added moisture in the atmosphere also explains the phenomenon we’ve seen this week at home — where snow blanketed the ground in 49 of 50 states.
So which is it, guys? Does global warming mean more moisture over Australia and therefore floods, or less moisture over Australia and therefore drought? Does it mean warmer winters and therefore less snow, or colder winters and therefore more snow?
Can you at least get your stories straight?