In the climate porn category you can include NBC’s “More human remains have been found at drought-stricken Lake Mead National Recreation Area east of Las Vegas, authorities said Sunday. It’s the fourth time since May that remains have been uncovered as Western drought forces the shoreline to retreat at the shrinking Colorado River reservoir behind the Hoover Dam.” But this time it’s not climate change doing the killing, unless greenhouse gases can shoot a man and stuff his body in a barrel. To its credit Newsweek, while furnishing a number of lurid details including that Bobbi Eugene Shaw, the guy in the barrel, was in the mafia according to his own sister and that “The lake’s water levels are at the lowest they’ve been since 1937, and hurtling towards dead pool level” did not mention man-made climate change. NPR by contrast informed readers that “Lake Mead has hit its lowest water levels since 1937 and is filled to 27% of capacity, according to NASA…. These droughts – exacerbated by climate change – continue to disrupt the West. The area is dealing with its driest period in at least 1,200 years.” Which means there were similar conditions 1,200 years ago that you can’t blame on us.
The reference to 1937 seems significant, given that the 1930s were the hottest decade in the U.S. since modern temperature records began until NASA fiddled the data, and also notorious for a drought. But it’s not, since Lake Mead was only created by the Hoover Dam in 1935.
On the other hand it is significant that a series of wet years from the 1970s through the 1990s helped fill the lake. And that it was nearly this low in the 1950s and the 1960s. And it is very significant that proponents of global warming alarmism consistently play fast and loose with historical dates.
Historical Lake Mead water levels are as follows:
There was a time when the idea was that if we didn’t do something about GHG emissions, temperatures were going to rise with bad effects. Although in his pivotal 1988 U.S. Senate testimony NASA’s Dr. James Hansen said “The rate of warming in the past 25 years, as you can see on the right, is the highest on record. The four warmest years, as the Senator mentioned, have all been in the 1980s. And 1988 so far is so much warmer than 1987”. Which implies that man-made warming became significant in 1963. Yet that’s when Lake Mead began filling up during that period and continued to do so for two decades. So does warming cause flooding, droughts or both?
In some sense neither. Hansen seemed concerned that significant impacts might be felt within another 10 to 15 years, so between 1998 and 2003. During which time Lake Mead first went up then down. There’s something fishy about a 40-year steady trend whose cause changes suddenly, if imperceptibly, half-way through.
It’s especially fishy given that there is a pattern of overuse of water in the drier, hotter parts of the United States, partly for agriculture and partly to be blunt for lawns. Does anyone really think if it hadn’t gotten a fraction of a degree warmer since 1983 Lake Mead would be full and the unfortunate Bobbi Shaw still missing?
We won’t rehash the Medieval Warm Period here. We will simply ask alarmists to stop taking the Fifth when asked: “In your opinion, when did significant effects from man-made global warming start to be evident?” Including, for NOAA, if it warmed 0.08°C from 1880 to 1980, are you saying only the extra 0.1°C per decade since is man-made and the other 0.08° natural? And that a cumulative 0.4° increase was enough to cause a millennial drought?
P.S. The Suzuki Foundation asserts that the total warming since “pre-industrial times” has been 1.09°C and that “according to the same [IPCC] report, 1.07 of the 1.09 degrees of warming is due to greenhouse gases associated with human activity.” So just 0.02° of natural warming, an amount you’d think would be hard to measure. And man’s influence kicking in back in 1880, or whenever they think the Industrial Revolution happened. Really? Is that what you think? Or are you just making it up as you go along?
P.P.S. We also checked our archives and on November 3, 2014 the Globe & Mail assured readers that “Climate change is already being felt around the world but its most serious effects are decades away, when today’s politicians and voters are not around to deal with the fallout.” By contrast, in the Summer 2000 Ryerson Review of Journalism we were told that the impact had been apparent since 1978. And the National Post in January 2003 said “Officials in the Arctic say global warming has cut hockey season in half in the past two decades and may hinder the future of development of northern hockey stars such as Jordin Tootoo.” So maybe 1983? And that same month Maclean’s said “In some cases, species’ ranges have shifted 100 km or more in recent decades – mainly toward what were cooler areas.” Yet in May 2011 the Ottawa Citizen said “When your lawn scorches or the geraniums croak, it may be premature to blame global warming. One of the world’s top science journals says climate hasn’t changed in most of North America – yet. In fact, says a study in Science, temperatures in most of North America have resisted the global trend.” So pick your own cherry.