Sep 15

Instead of refining the theory, perhaps it should just be scrapped altogether.

The Oregonian reports:

In a warming world, scientists have told us to expect more rain and less snow in the Northwest — but not less overall precipitation.

New evidence, however, suggests that both rain and snowfall may decrease across the region during dry years.

Even in the rain-drenched Northwest, the trend could escalate water conflicts if it continues. Farmers, conservationists and city water managers would face severe challenges trying to balance human needs with the survival requirements of endangered salmon that need cold, clean, rushing water.

Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service looked for changes in the amount of water flowing out of mountain basins since 1948 at 43 rivers and streams across Oregon, Washington, Idaho and western Montana.

Few rivers showed significant declines in runoff until researchers isolated the driest 25 percent of years.

Then nearly three-quarters of river basins showed severe decreases in water flow. Runoff fell by 30 percent or greater in most streams, and by nearly 50 percent at some locations during dry years.”

And those are really important years,” says study author Charlie Luce, a Forest Service research hydrologist in Boise.

The pattern found in the new study runs contrary to predictions based on computer simulations of global warming. Those suggest the Northwest should continue to receive about the same amount of precipitation but that runoff will peak earlier and leave rivers emptier in hot summer months.

That’s because rising temperatures are likely to cause more precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow and the mountain snowpack to melt earlier in the spring. In a new forecast for western Washington, for instance, Susan Dickerson and Robert Mitchell at Western Washington University in Bellingham predict increases in winter flows, decreases in summer flows, and a shift toward earlier spring snowmelt as the regional climate warms.

“The biggest hydrologic change is a shift in timing of flow, not a change in total annual flow,” Mote says. Since 1920, snow accumulation in Northwest mountains has fallen about 25 percent, Mote has calculated.

The new findings paint a more complicated picture. Not only will we see more rain and earlier snowmelts, but we also could see significant decreases in overall precipitation during drought years.

The new study doesn’t prove that dry years are getting drier because of less rain and snow, just that rivers run much lower than they did decades ago.

“It is not clear whether precipitation is decreasing, or whether water use is increasing,” says Julia Jones, an associate professor in the department of forest ecosystems and society at Oregon State University.

Because climate models don’t point to decreasing precipitation, says Mote, the OSU climate scientist, rising greenhouse gases may have nothing to do with decreased runoff in dry years. “You can’t conclude based on this study that climate models are missing something.”

Luce agrees that it’s impossible to link greenhouse gases and a warming climate to less precipitation in dry years. But he says the evidence is fairly strong that the decreases in river runoff are the result of less rain and snow and that the shift is contrary to climate models. Luce plans to extend his analysis to precipitation records but says those records aren’t as reliable as the numbers on runoff.

To account for changes in water use, Luce tracked forest water consumption and evaporative losses in one river basin and found that those water losses could not explain the decreases in river flow. Luce and co-author Z.A. Holden with the Forest Service in Missoula, Mont., also noted sharp decreases in flow in two river basins in which large tracts of forest had been lost to fires — which should have increased runoff by allowing more precipitation to reach streams.

Luce speculates that changes in the Pacific Ocean circulation pattern known as the El Nino Southern Oscillation may be the driving force behind his findings. Scientists have linked shifts in the El Nino cycle to droughts in some regions and torrential rains in others. In recent years, some researchers have proposed that global warming may be altering El Nino events and intensifying droughts.

But researchers don’t know enough to predict how the El Nino cycle will respond to future climate warming.

“Climate models embody the theory as we understand it,” Luce says. “Now we’ve got a new set of observations that don’t quite agree with the theory. People can go out and refine the theory.”

These people haven’t got a clue about this, but instead of just admitting that their theory is wrong, they are now busy tweaking their theory so that it still falls in line with “the consensus”, whose validity and conclusions shall never, ever be questioned. Ever.

As a fellow blogger likes to sarcastically say, “…global warming is real, caused by humans, and must be addressed at all costs. Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data.”

Be the first to like.

Possibly Related Posts:


Share

6 Responses to “As precipitation observations run contrary to climate model predictions, scientist shamelessly concludes: ‘People can go out and refine the theory.’”

  1. Aaron says:

    That’s what scientists do: refine theories in the face of new evidence. Unlike climate contrarians, who don’t bother updating their discredited arguments after consistent scientific debunking. Do yourself a favor and try to find a real climate scientist to set you straight instead of relying on political ideologues to digest your climate science for you.

       0 likes

    • Klockarman says:

      Thanks for reading the blog, and taking the time to comment.

      I’m all for refining theories. In fact, we skeptics have been arguing for just that for years. And it’s time for the alarmists to refine theirs. Even the NY Times said today:

      “…global temperatures have been stable for a decade….”

      Read it all here…

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/science/earth/23cool.html

      But, the alarmist scientists just keep on plugging the “consensus”, and hanging their hat on the computer models rather than the observed temperature. One would think that when observed temperatures are flat or declining for 11 years that some scientists would be humbled enough to admit that it’s time to reconsider their conclusions. Sadly, that’s not the case with the majority of them. I think it’s either a political agenda, or it’s just simply ego.

         0 likes

  2. Aaron says:

    Or it’s simply that they understand the climate. Global temperatures are still far above where they would be without human influence. “Global warming” doesn’t mean temperature go up every year no matter what, as so many contrarians seems to think. Temps. being stable isn’t the same as “global warming stopping.” It just means that natural cooling effects, such as the La Nina minimum in the Pacific, are offsetting human-induced warming for the time being. Meanwhile, the climate keeps shifting.

    You’re not arguing against what real scientists are saying. You’re arguing what you think they’re saying. It’s a giant straw man.

    Scientists are the most self-critical, objective profession out there. All the objections contrarians raise have been debated and dismissed among real climate scientists. Science isn’t just “another way” of forming opinions as most contrarians seem to think.

       0 likes

    • Klockarman says:

      But we were told that CO2 emissions overrode natural processes. Yes, there was a cool La Nina phase, and I hear that the PDO has switched to its cool phase, and many are saying it will cool for another 10, 20 or 30 years. Will it? I haven’t a clue. I’m not a scientist nor pretend to be one.

      Right now, the globally averaged temps are below the low estimate of the IPCC’s AR4 computer model. And if they can’t get it right coming right out of the chute, I’m inclined to think that they are virtually worthless on a longer term. You will undoubtedly disagree with me on this point, and that’s fine.

      Thanks again for reading the blog, and for your comments.

         0 likes

  3. Aaron says:

    Sure thing.

    No scientist ever said CO2 “overrode” anything — another example of going after a position the scientific community never took. It’s one of many factors, but unlike natural factors which fluctuate back and forth, CO2 only works in one direction.

    Similarly, the IPCC models were never intended to predict climate in 5 years bursts, so it doens’t make sense for anyone to criticize them on these grounds. At the opposite end of the temporal spectrum, it would be like criticizing the local weather person for not mentioning global warming while giving a 5 day forecast. The IPCC models are intended to predict climate over the course of multiple decades. Other climate science studies which intentionally looked at the next few years of the climate have predicted current conditions.

       0 likes

  4. [...] ideologically-charged Al Gore Lied blog takes scientists to task for updating their views in light of new evidence. The author is dismayed by a researcher who says, [...]

       0 likes

Leave a Reply

preload preload preload