Every bit of weather that we have experienced lately - above normal, below normal, or absolutely normal - has been blamed on global warming and global warming has been blamed on human activity. They, meaning those making such claims, are wrong.
So the warmists say one thing, but historical records say something entirely different. Which one do we believe? To quote the late great Groucho Marx, “Who are you going to believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?”
Last week a severe storm froze Dallas under a sheet of ice, just in time to disrupt the plans of the tens of thousands of (American) football fans descending on the city for the Super Bowl. On the other side of the globe, Cyclone Yasi slammed northeastern Australia, destroying homes and crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
Some climate alarmists would have us believe that these storms are yet another baleful consequence of man-made CO2 emissions. In addition to the latest weather events, they also point to recent cyclones in Burma, last winter's fatal chills in Nepal and Bangladesh, December's blizzards in Britain, and every other drought, typhoon and unseasonable heat wave around the world.
But is it true? To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.
As it happens, the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871."
It's like the media hype we have to deal with every time we get a snowstorm. They build it up to be a killer storm that will cripple everything and everyone for days or weeks, making it seem we'll all be re-enacting the conditions and outcome of the Donner party, eating our frozen dead to survive. But in the end we all survive quite nicely and the snowstorm ends up inconveniencing us for a day or two. And so it is the the AGW hysteria.