Pay attention to the science: James Hansen proved right, critics wrong (reprise)


This is mostly a reprise of a post from October, in which we noted that climate scientist James Hansen‘s off-handed prediction of what might be warming damage to New York had come true.  Not that Hansen wanted it to ever occur, but Hansen’s conjecture had been the subject of great ridicule attempts in the warming [choose one: denialists', critics', apologists's] Gish Gallop rebuttal attempts.

As it is again.  This time, a discussant pointed the Anthony Watts’s Carnival of Misbelief as the source of a claim which, the discussant said, proved liberals don’t like facts.

Here’s the run-up question, and my response:

Mr. Mears tried to extend his argument:

He should have quit at bafflegab.  His link runs to Anthony Watts’s place, with the same attempted ridicule of James Hansen’s nightmare.

Watts made the same error Steve Goddard made, of course.  Watts corrected one erroneous detail — the time in which Hansen said it might occur — but tried to make the ridicule stick:

As of this update in March 2011, we’re 23 years into his prediction of the West Side Highway being underwater. From what I can measure in Google Earth, Dr. Hansen would need at least a ten foot rise in forty years to make his prediction work. See this image below from Google Earth where I placed the pointe over the West Side Highway, near the famous landmark and museum, the USS Intrepid:

According to Google Earth, the West Side Highway is 10 feet above sea level here – click to enlarge

The lat/lon should you wish to check yourself is: 40.764572° -73.998498°

We turn to the events of last October, and the storm that was Hurricane Sandy, which slammed into New Jersey and New York, and that same West Side Highway.

I noted in an earlier post, on October 30 of last year:

Over at Rabbett Run:

tonylearns said…
Could someone go over to Goddard’s blog for me ( I have been banned three times most recently for having the gall to suggest he was wrong in ridiculing the possibility of a new record minimum SIE this year. ) and ask for his apology to Hansen for ridiculing the possibility of the West Side Highway being underwater. I just saw a video showing the West Side Highway underwater.
29/10/12 7:46 PM

No! Someone whose comments don’t show up at Steve Goddard’s blog? Must be some massive disruption in the force of the Tubes of the Interweb thingy.

What is this guy Tony on about?

At Steve Goddard’s blog — this is the same guy who said the western drought was over because Lake Powell rose a few feet, though the drought raged on everywhere else — Goddard and his flying and limping monkeys have been poking fun at something James Hansen is alleged to have said:

According to NASA’s top scientist, Manhattan has been underwater for the past four years, and is experiencing a horrific drought.

While doing research 12 or 13 years ago, I met Jim Hansen, the scientist who in 1988 predicted the greenhouse effect before Congress. I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

And so far, over the last 10 years, we’ve had 10 of the hottest years on record. [Quoting an article at Salon]

The West Side Highway under water?  Ha.

Goddard’s blog has used Hansen’s quote as a regular punchline, not noticing that Hansen said “in 20 to 30 years,” and assuming he was just awfully, comically wrong.  30 years from 1988 will be 2018.  This year is 2012, six years to go.  Goddard tried to ridicule Hansen a few times over the past couple of years, for example:

  1. Here on October 4, 2010;
  2. Here on October 10, 2010;
  3. Here on November 13, 2010;
  4. Here on December 19, 2010 (with a photo of Al Gore, Barack Obama and an unidentified guy, maybe Goddard himself?);
  5. Here on January 15, 2011;
  6. Again on March 14, 2011;
  7. A special St. Patrick’s Day posting, March 17, 2011;
  8. Here on April 9, 2011;
  9. Here on May 22, 2011;
  10. Here on May 30, 2011; and obviously running out of comedy material, Goddard went for two in one day,
  11. Here on May 30, 2011, and by this time it’s such a regular meme attempting to mock James Hansen with same old material, Goddard doesn’t refer to the actual quote from Hansen;
  12. Here on June 15, 2011;
  13. Here on July 20, 2011;
  14. Here on July 21, 2011;
  15. Here on August 25, 2011;
  16. Here on May 7, 2012;
  17. Here on May 8, 2012;
  18. Here on May 23, 2012;
  19. June 25, 2012;
  20. August 9, 2012;
  21. August 23, 2012;
  22. August 31, 2012;
  23. September 28, 2012.

AP may complain about this use, but this is an academic, learning exercise:

Photo showing West Side Highway underwater from Hurricane Sandy

Caption from Yahoo! News: This photo provided by Dylan Patrick shows flooding along the Westside Highway near the USS Intrepid as Sandy moves through the area Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 in New York. Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday by a superstorm that overflowed the city’s historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to nearly a million people. (AP Photo/Dylan Patrick) MANDATORY CREDIT: DYLAN PATRICK

Dylan Patrick got the photographic evidence that shows, once again, warming denialists really are a classless, fact-lacking bunch.  CNN has photos from Dylanphoto1 (the same guy, almost certainly), in a slide show, noting, “Most of the Westside Highway south of 49th street is flooded all the way down, and in front of the USS Intrepid.”  Across from Pier 88 and the USS Intrepid, the street is indeed underwater.

So we learn that, as a comedian, Steve Goddard has an extremely limited range and depends on a sympathetic room to get laughs; and as a climate scientist, he is even more limited, and wrong, with 6 years to go in the 20 to 30 year range James Hansen offered.  And we learn once again, sadly, that James Hansen was right back in 1988 when he hit the claxons to warn us of global warming.

23 times Goddard repeated the charge?  Do you get the idea that “climate skeptics” ran out of material years ago, and have been dancing a cover-up for a very, very long time?  Hurricane Sandy blew and floated his claim away.

In this reprise post, I add three photos to make it even more clear what happened:

West Side Highway at Pier 88, flooded

From CNN: By dylanphoto1 | Posted October 29, 2012 | NYC, NY, New York — CNN PRODUCER NOTE dylanphoto1 told me, ‘It was fairly quiet with large gusts of wind and some rain. There were other people out and about taking photos and commenting on how crazy it is to see the water covering the highway. Cops were out chasing people off the highway.’

Yes, Dear Reader, that is indeed Pier 88.  New Yorkers probably recognize it as the berthing place of the U.S.S. Intrepid, the same ship Watts shows in his photo, while laughingly promising that the West Side Highway would never be flooded by the ocean at that spot.  Never?

West Side Highway flooded by Sandy, at Pier 88

CNN image, photo by dylanphoto1; in this view, Pier 88′s denizen, the U.S.S. Intrepid, can clearly be seen by the name on the stern of the ship.

One more photo from dylanphoto1:

Pier 88 during Sandy - CNN image from dylanphoto1

At New York City’s Pier 88, the U.S.S. Intrepid, with the West Side Highway in the foreground, covered by surging and rising ocean waters.

So there you have it.  Some conservatives will deny the science they claim to cling to, blaming liberals or James Hansen for being right all along.

Is this stuff from the anti-warms the Cargo Cult Science Dr. Feynman warned us about, do you think?

More (list from the October post):

Even more, a bit later:

And even more, from May 2013:

13 Responses to Pay attention to the science: James Hansen proved right, critics wrong (reprise)

  1. Shocked Joe, read my comment from 5/22/13. the Salon article is just flat out wrong. The actual discussion is in the book, and it is 20 years too early and included a DOUBLING of CO2. this was an off hand response to a question and not a scientific paper.
    Evens so Sandy showed Hanson to be quite prophetic.

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Did you read my post? I link to the key articles, and the key errors by the denialists and naysayers who say it’s “alarmist” to worry about future climate.

    If you read Hansens’ words, talking about the tape on the windows (true!), it’s clear he’s talking about a storm.

    Superstorm Sandy was that storm. It was most of a decade earlier than Hansen “predicted,” and it absolutely and directly refutes the claims of Watts, and Goddard, and those who try to ridicule science.

    Eli the bunny explains here (and I link to this article above): http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/10/steve-goddard-drowns-in-millard.html

    You’ll also want to see this article: http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/10/did-climate-change-load-dice-for-sandy.html

    I tell my students in economics to follow the money, to look to see how markets value science and “predictions.” If you do that, you notice that storm surge and flood damage is way, way up, and increasing. Here in Texas, homeowners pay about $1,000 a year extra in insurance, due to global warming.

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/annals-of-global-warming-insurance-companies-note-increasing-costs-of-floods-due-to-climate-change/

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/insurance-experts-get-ready-for-climate-change-now/

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/annals-of-global-warming-understanding-climate-change-modeling-glaciers-and-water-supply/

    If you track these issues over time, you’ll see that all the changes — ALL the changes — run to our economic disadvantage, and they indicate warming doing the damage.

    It’s in the numbers, not the stars. Will we move the numbers, or will we be runover by them?

    Like

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Hansen was clear that sea level rise would put the West Side Highway underwater. It did.

    Conflation? Not on my side.

    Like

  4. Shocked joe says:

    Where did the 40-year thing come from? I read the Salon piece, it said 20-30 years. He’s got four or five years left, and sea level would have to rise a foot a year for the next four or five… at least… for his prediction to be “true” … This is a tempest in a teapot, you guys.

    Like

  5. Shocked joe says:

    Seriously? You conflate a flood, with Hansen’s prediction of sea level rise? Tell me, is the roadway high and dry today?

    Like

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Except to Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts, and a few hundred faithful denialists who cheer their every error.

    Like

  7. Eli Rabett says:

    For about a decade on visits to NYC Eli has noted frequent flooding at the Battery, the tip of Manhattan much more than in the past. This was no surprise

    Like

  8. […] Pay attention to the science: James Hansen proved right, critics wrong (reprise) (timpanogos.wordpress.com) […]

    Like

  9. jsojourner says:

    As you know, Ed, I agree. It is important to pay attention to the science. However, I also pay attention to the money. Hattip and the rest of the climate denialists need to ask themselves who stands to profit — and by how much — if we take path A and then, if we take path B.

    Determine that, and you’ll know who the liars, obfuscaters, faux scientists, pitchers of woo, poachers and moral criminals are.

    Always.

    Jim

    Like

  10. Tony Duncan says:

    Hattip,
    that is NOT the point. the point is that WUWT and Goddard, ESPECIALLY Goddard attacked Hansen over and over again for the West Side Highway being underwater by 2012.
    AND they totally got the date wrong. The journalist, Bob Reiss had ASKED Hansen in his book that it would be 40 years in the future (which would make it 2028) what NY would be like IF CO2 levels DOUBLEd in that time. The incorrect description was given by Reiss to Salon in an offhand phone interview which named the wrong time and omitted the doubling of CO2. WUWT eventually acknowledged they were wrong, but in numerous arguments with Goddard he contended that the off hand remark was correct and the book was wrong and that there was probably a conspiracy between Hansen and the author.
    ANd Hansen NEVER said the water level would be above the West side highway, but that storm surge would lead to dutch engineers figuring out how to save it. If we have one more Sandy in the next few years, you can rest assured that something like that will happen, and we actually have another 15 years for a remark Hansen said in an informal discussion to come true. ALSO CO2 levels Will NOT have doubled. remember this was a question asked TO Hansen not an assertion he was making
    If you have any interest in the facts, you would admit that this was a totally unwarranted attack on Hansen that was based on incorrect information and that ignored the most important aspect of the conjecture. the DOUBLING of CO2.
    This is meaningful because it shows the degree of deceit deniers are willing to use to promote their agenda.

    Like

  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Read the interview, read the attempts at ridicule by the anti-greens. It’s clear they don’t care what Hansen meant, nor do they care what the facts are.

    The flat out prediction from Goddard and Watts was that no ocean water would ever lap over the West Side Highway. In a twist that is highly ironic to rationalists, or a message from God to the faithful or superstitious, the ocean rose to lap over the West Side Highway at precisely the place Hansen pointed to, and precisely the place Watts illustrated with a photograph.

    Wise people pay attention to facts.

    Like

  12. pinroot says:

    @hattip – They’ve got to grasp at any available straw in an attempt to make themselves right when it’s obvious to anyone that they’re wrong (again and again)…

    Like

  13. hattip says:

    Oh that is just childish. Hanson was not talking about atemporary flood wash but a permanent rise is water level. How absurd that you imagine that this is meaningful. You are a teacher? You should not be let near students. What a joke.

    Like

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