by Dr. Tim Ball
None of them are...
They are deceptions created and manipulated by technocrats. The objective is to sensationalize the story, by using a period of record that provides the desired result.
It is in the practice of modern politics defined by H. L. Mencken a few years ago.
A simple trick with a climate hobgoblin is to pick a period in which your claim is valid.
The first major and classic example occurred in Chapter 8 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1995 Report. They showed as evidence of human-caused warming a graph of the "Upper Atmosphere Temperature."
However, the deception is exposed when plot the complete record.
This practice of cherry-picking the period of study is not exclusive to the media.
It was a clear sign of corruption of climatology brought to a head with Roseanne D'Arrigo's infamous comment to the 2006 National Academy of Science (NAS) panel that if you are going to make a cherry pie, you have to pick cherries.
That doesn't condone the media use of the technique. All it does is illustrate why it was a convenient technique for creating a deception about what is normal.
For example, a 2017 BBC headline said,
That is 41 years, which is statistically significant but not climatologically significant.
A Youtube story reports,
CBS Pittsburgh reported,
The record began in 1871 or 147 years ago, but even that is not climatologically significant.
The ones I like are this one from North Carolina, that says,
"Ever" is approximately 4.5 billion years...
Other stories focus on a pattern or change in a pattern again with the idea that it is new or abnormal.
Headlines like this one from 2012,
Often, they are suggestive such as this 2017 New York Times story.
When you read the story, you find, as is usually the case, that the caveats at the end indicate it is not unusual. The problem is the headline already set the pattern in the public mind.
The headline says,
The author is talking about a series of storms tracking on to the west coast of North America.
The story told us,
The terms, "pummeled" and "traffic jam" are evocative and imply the pattern is unusual.
In fact, the pattern is perfectly normal to the point that there is a descriptive term for it, the Pineapple Express. This refers to the establishment of the Polar Front along the northwest coast of North America after it migrates south from its summer position off the coast of Alaska and northern British Columbia.
Low pressure systems known as anti-cyclones develop along the Front all year round. The areas affected by these systems changes as the Front migrates between its more northerly summer position and more southerly winter position.
The term Pineapple Express refers to the situation in the winter when these anti-cyclones generate in the region of Hawaii and track along the Front hitting the northwest coast in a series of storms.
The pattern does not stop in an El Niño year but sometimes takes a different path.
These anti-cyclone systems are also the focus of exploitation of normal weather events as abnormal, in Europe. The southerly shift of the Polar Front in the Northern Hemisphere occurs around the globe.
Two major factors influence the weather pattern,
This pattern of anti-cyclones hitting western Europe in the winter was added to the propaganda list when they started naming the storms. It linked them to hurricanes in the public mind, and it implied they were a recent phenomenon.
They are not recent, new, or of greater intensity...
A significant part of professor Hubert Lamb's ground-breaking and monumental work on historical climatology was a long-term reconstruction of the pattern of these anti-cyclones.
It fit with his claim about why he established the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.
Once he created a long-term record of these anti-cyclonic systems, there was a better chance of determining the underlying mechanisms.
From this, he could achieve his final objective of better forecasting. The ability to forecast defines science. If that is not the final objective, the work is mostly irrelevant.
Consider the destructive and history-altering impact of storms like the one that hit the Spanish Armada that attempted to invade England in 1588.
Ironically, Phil Jones, who ran the CRU reputation into the ground while under his direction, wrote a good synopsis of Lamb's work.
Click above image...
There is also the storm of 1703 reported in great detail in the book "The Storm" by the famous author Daniel Defoe.
Marcel Leroux was an early major skeptic of the claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). His 2005 article "Global Warming - Myth or Reality?" (and book) was impactful because Leroux was well qualified.
As one review of his book notes,
The comment about sensationalism in the media is relevant to this article because Leroux, like Lamb, also worked on a reconstruction of the anti-cyclonic systems in the North Atlantic.
Leroux also worked on another later exploitation of the normal by John Holdren, Obama's Science Advisor, the so-called "Polar Vortex." Leroux's 1993 work on the impact of the "The Mobile Polar High" showed how these outbreaks of cold Polar air are normal weather events that enter the climate record because of their regular but variable appearance and impact.
An unholy alliance confronts us...
It is between the political use of science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the spin doctors or, as I prefer, the professional liars, and the mainstream media, that create fake news by making the normal appear abnormal.
As the Yiddish proverb observes,