Monday, 21 January 2013

California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

Sacramento during the 1861-62 Megaflood
California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

   Contributed by Stefan Landherr

Climate change* alarmists keep telling us that severe weather events have become more common in the past few decades and that it's all due to rising levels of man-made carbon dioxide in our planet's atmosphere.

Well, here's a recent article from Scientific American™ about the catastrophic 1861 floods in California, when global CO2 levels were much lower than today.  More importantly, there is strong evidence that similar events (preceded by severe droughts) have occurred every 100 or 200 years over the past two millennia.

Good to see that not all climate scientists have been captured by the alarmist dogma.

* previously known as Anthropogenic Global Warming


California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

by B. Lynn Ingram

extracts from Scientific American™   19 January 2013

A 43-day storm that began in December 1861 put central and southern California underwater for up to six months, and it could happen again.
Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California every 100 to 200 years. Such floods are likely caused by atmospheric rivers: narrow bands of water vapor about a mile above the ocean that extend for thousands of kilometres.
In a forthcoming book [the author] co-wrote with Frances Malamud-Roam, THE WEST WITHOUT WATER: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow (University of California Press, Spring 2013) [they] present evidence for similar if not larger floods that have occurred every one to two centuries over the past two millennia in California, as well as nature’s flip-side: deep and prolonged droughts.

About the Author:
B. Lynn Ingram is a professor in the Earth and Planetary Science Department at the University of California, Berkeley. She studies past climatic and environmental change in California and other locations around the Pacific Rim.


The changing climate of climate change

The changing climate of climate change

Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods
Guest ColumnistFrom the Oregonian's Oregon Live

By Gordon Fulks 

In the bizarre world of climate alarmism, a naturally evolving climate is viewed as a man-made catastrophe, but an evolving political climate is not, as long as it supports the hysteria. Few advocate learning enough about science to separate fact from fiction, because knowledge is considered an impediment to progress.

With the re-election of Barack Obama, his radical followers declared, "This is our time," and ramped up efforts to transform society back to a simpler period when energy meant horse power and prosperity was a distant dream. The president steered clear of this climate morass, preferring to let his Environmental Protection Agency work "the problem" away from public scrutiny.

In the meantime, we have seen storms of alarmism. Public television declared that Hurricane Sandy fit the pattern expected in a warming world, despite the fact that the incidence of major hurricanes has declined dramatically to half what it was in the colder 1950s. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and two Oregon State University philosophy professors stressed their intellectual superiority over "creationists" and "deniers" ("Rejecting science that crosses faith," Paul Krugman, Nov. 24, 2012; "Exposing the logic of climate change denial," Michael P. Nelson and Kathleen Dean Moore, Dec. 2, 2012). And Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein rejoiced that his relentless climate propaganda was sinking into the American psyche.

As if to acknowledge this, Republican James L. Huffman imagined "persuasive evidence" of human involvement in global warming ("Are all doubters really 'hapless' or 'greedy'?" Dec. 10, 2012). Angus Duncan and Jack Roberts were sure that their windmills would address the coming climate catastrophe ("Keeping climate science and climate politics apart," Nov. 11, 2012). And the annual United Nations climate seance in Doha, Qatar, heard endless calls to action among delegates enjoying the opulent luxury that fossil fuels provide. The only sensible comment came from Huffman, who admitted to a lack of scientific training (as he offered his scientific opinion).

Real science is far different from what amateurs think. The problems with classical greenhouse gas theory escape those who view science as politics (consensus) or as religion (belief).

Scientists know that only logic and evidence apply. The evidence causing great grief is the refusal of the global temperature to increase for the past 15 years. It sloshes back and forth as one would expect on a planet with vast oceans and atmosphere that are never in equilibrium, but does not warm as some claimed it would with slowly increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Consequently, cracks are developing in the scientific facade supporting the dogma.

Reading the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is much like reading Pravda during the Cold War: You do not look for beliefs, but for hints of change. In a recent paper (not peer-reviewed), newly elected members touted their belief that they had found the "fingerprint" of greenhouse gases. Yet they admitted to a considerable discrepancy with observations, a fatal flaw in a rational world. And buried deeply in the last table of supplementary information was the evidence that their climate simulations are failing badly.

Perhaps this is what prompted the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to insert a sentence in its most recent draft report saying that the sun is more important than it previously realized. With NOAA now admitting that the present solar cycle will finish far below most in the Grand Maximum of solar cycles over the past two centuries, with American solar physicists William Livingston and Matthew Penn pointing to a collapsing solar magnetic field, and with Russian astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov saying that carbon dioxide is "not guilty" and predicting a prolonged cooling this century, it is about time.

The previous warm periods (Medieval, Roman and Minoan) likely had the same natural origin as the present one. Hence, we should expect a century of cooling that essentially reverses the warming of the 20th century. This is what the Greenland ice core temperature reconstructions show happened previously.

Although the public has little knowledge of science and too easily falls for scams, scientists know that they cannot hold onto theories in the face of contravening evidence, even with vast government largess hanging in the balance. Those who have struck a Faustian bargain are beginning to worry that the devil may one day come to collect.

Gordon J. Fulks lives in Oregan and can be reached at He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research. See also Physicist's View of the Precautionary Principle.