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

May 22, 2013

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:


Ouch! Warming denialists’ claims blown away by Sandy

October 30, 2012

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.

More:

Even more, a bit later:


What does Superstorm Sandy tell us about how to vote? Is disaster aid “immoral?”

October 29, 2012

Is it immoral for the federal government to coordinate disaster responses, and to provide aid for disasters, especially during and after superstorms like Sandy?

SUOMI view of Hurricane Sandy, early October 29, 2012 - NASA image

Caption from NASA: This night-view image of Hurricane Sandy was acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite around 2:42 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (06:42 Universal Time) on October 28, 2012. In this case, the cloud tops were lit by the nearly full Moon (full occurs on October 29). Some city lights in Florida and Georgia are also visible amid the clouds.
CREDIT: NASA/Suomi NPP – VIIRS/Michael Carlowicz

I was troubled when GOP Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called for cuts to disaster forecasting and especially our volcano monitoring systems, in 2009. I’ve been troubled by slams at NASA and NOAA with calls to cut budgets for orbiting satellites used to forecast storms and floods and other disasters, from the GOP.

And, with Sandy bearing down on the U.S. Northeast, Middle Atlantic and New England states (where older son Kenny lives in building that is, we hope, about 20 feet above sea level), I’ve been troubled by memories of calls for cuts to FEMA in the Republican presidential primaries.

Correspondent James Kessler tracked down a transcript from a campaign event in June, a presidential candidate cavalcade broadcast by CNN, with John King as moderator/anchor.  Look at this exchange:

KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut — we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

Can you imagine how different the world would be today had Americans shared that view in 1936, or 1940, or 1942?  Immoral to do what is necessary to preserve the future, because we have to borrow to do some of it?

Has Romney changed his position in the last 24 hours?  I predict he will change it very soon, if he hasn’t already flip-flopped on it.  Of course, he may double down on crazy, and stand pat.   What do you think a rational patriot would do in this case?  [At about 1:00 p.m. Central Time, I heard an NPR radio news report — Romney urges private contributions to the Red Cross.  Meanwhile, President Obama has been working all morning to make sure the disaster response from the federal government is coordinated with affected states.] [Ha! But within hours, Romney has taken the almost-opposite position again.  World land speed record for flips on an issue?]

I erred, perhaps.  I had thought Mitt Romney the most capable and sober of the GOP candidates for president, and I urged by GOP friends to support Romney if they had no chance of completely recovering their senses by November.  Now I realize that, on the GOP side, “most capable” should be “most nearly capable,” and still means “incapable.”  And “sober” means nothing at all.  Perhaps worse, he’s still the best of the GOP lot this year.  Even worse, he has a chance to win.

Can we blame Romney?  Yes, we can blame people who reject science and don’t think of consequences past election day.  Yesterday Greg Laden offered a long post on what we should have learned from the “Storm of 1938” and the remnants of Hurricane Irene that slammed the Northeast in 2011, “What you need to know about Frankenstorm Hurricane Sandy”:

Here’s the thing. Imagine that a storm like Sandy came along in either of two years; 70 years ago or 35 years ago. Sandy is much larger and contains much more energy than the ’38 storm, or for that matter, of any known storm of the North Atlantic (we’ll get to that below). If Sandy hit the region in the 1930s, it would have been without warning, and it would have been prior to the reconstruction of seawalls and the development of flood mitigation measures inland that have happened in recent decades. Sandy, in ’38, would kill tens of thousands and destroy thousands of structures. That would be an average Sandy, a Sandy not being as bad as the most dire predictions we are considering today as the storm begins to take a grip on the eastern seaboard.

A Sandy of 35 years ago would have been predicted. The ability to see hurricanes coming was in place, but not as well developed as it is today. We would have seen Sandy coming, but her massiveness and extent, and her exact trajectory, would probably have been unknown. But at least there would be warning. Many of the seawalls and flood mitigation systems would have been in place, but the overbuilding on barrier islands and other vulnerable coastal regions would have been at or near a peak. With evacuations, Sandy would not kill 10s of thousands… probably only hundreds. But the number of buildings destroyed would be unthinkable. Most of those buildings are now gone or shored up. A Sandy in 1975 would have left some very interesting coastal archaeology for me to have observed during my trips to the shore in the 1980s. Very interesting indeed.

Mr. Laden always offers a good view of science, and his history is good here, too.

We can learn from the past.  FEMA is charged with learning from past disasters.  It’s a function of federal government we would be foolish to forego.  “Austere” shouldn’t mean “stupid.”

What do you think?  Is it immoral for the federal government to provide disaster assistance?

More:


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