Katharine Hayhoe Back In The News

Our old friend Katherine Hayhoe is back at it :

Heavy rains, deep snowfalls, monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a “new normal” of extreme U.S. weather events fueled by climate change, scientists and government planners said on Wednesday.

“It’s a new normal and I really do think that global weirding is the best way to describe what we’re seeing,” climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University told reporters.

“We are used to certain conditions and there’s a lot going on these days that is not what we’re used to, that is outside our current frame of reference,” Hayhoe said on a conference call with other experts, organized by the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists.

An upsurge in heavy rainstorms in the United States has coincided with prolonged drought, sometimes in the same location, she said, noting that west Texas has seen a record-length dry period over the last five years, even as there have been two 100-year rain events.


Right … Pecos, Texas is as west Texas as it gets. USHCN measured precipitation over the last five years has been considerably higher than the 1950s, and is not much below the long term mean.

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42 Responses to Katharine Hayhoe Back In The News

  1. MikeTheDenier says:

    Good thing. Maybe mankind will last past the year 2100.

    Species Extinction Rates Grossly Overestimated


    • Al Gored says:

      Bjorn Lomborg explained this in his book ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist.’

      That is one reason why the UnScientific American attacked him.

      Can’t disturb the hysterical mass extinction story. Its the AGW for the pathetically dishonest Conservation Biology industry, which gets prize money for every species or ‘subspecies’ or invented ‘geographic population’ they can list. The prize? Jobs for life saving whatever they manage to get listed as ‘Threatened’ or worse. Giant megascam overshadowed by the bigger AGW scam.

  2. omnologos says:

    As long as reporters act as brain-dead apparatchiks, that’s all we’re going to read.

  3. Dave N says:

    You can really only determine if something is weird now, by examining the past. Of course, if you don’t look very far back, almost anything can look weird.

    These loons appear to be unable to look back more than a week.

  4. suyts says:

    Ah, yes, why I remember when she was just a fledgling alarmist. Oh, those were the days.

    “An upsurge in heavy rainstorms in the United States has coincided with prolonged drought, sometimes in the same location”, she said, …..

    Remember, her view of norm was different than most. Maybe she figures her droughtflood in the same manner.

    “I analyzed changes in the variance of observed *daily* data from NOAA/NCDC stations”


  5. Al Gored says:

    Well something is causing wierding in the minds of supposed ‘scientists’?

    But since the “Union of Concerned Scientists” is just a nice cover name for a bunch of advocates masquerading as ‘scientists’ I guess this should come as no surprise.

    Bit like the Democratic Republic of North Korea, if you know what I mean.

  6. Andy Weiss says:

    There is nothing wierd about that graph. It shows no drastic trend of any kind. Saying it’s wierd doesn’t make it so.

  7. K Hayhoe says:

    Dear Steve,

    The statement I made to the reporter was that, in the past five years I have been living in West Texas, we experienced the longest consecutive string of dry days ever recorded. This statement was based on records from our local National Weather Service Office, here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lub/?n=events-2006-20060203_dry

    Basic statistics tell us–completely independent of any assumptions regarding climate change–that heavy rainfall events and floods can only be observed from daily data. Annual means tell us nothing whatsoever about precipitation.

    Your immediate tendency to condemn something without even stopping to check the facts is rather telling. I have taken the time to investigate issues you have raised before responding to you. The fact that you do not reciprocate this very basic courtesy should explain why climate scientists don’t bother to engage. Why should I go looking for abuse? Enough of it arrives on my door every day.

    I am honestly disappointed; I had hoped for logic and courtesy in our exchanges but that was too much to ask.

    Yours sincerely,

    Katharine Hayhoe

    • P.J. says:

      “We are used to certain conditions and there’s a lot going on these days that is not what we’re used to, that is outside our current frame of reference,”

      Climate is not static. The only thing constant about climate is change.

    • Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

      K Hayhoe

      “Skeptics” are told over and over that local events are meaningless in climate. Your experience is local to the area you live in. If we apply your argument to the record cold in Florida then we could conclude global cooling is happening.

      You also assume that these dry days in your area unprecedented. It is likely since the earth in a relatively cool time in comparison to the last 7000 years it is likely the same, or worse, has happened before.

      Therefore you cannot conclude the climate is “weirding”. You just do not know for sure.

    • suyts says:


      I think you’re seeing the glass as half empty. Was Steve’s post flippant? Yes, probably. But, as I alluded earlier, you seem to have a different perspective when it comes to droughts and precipitation. And, yes, my style was a bit flippant, too.

      However, I would like to point some things out. Which using your word is blogosphere weirding. What’s weird about Steve’s post as opposed to alarmists sites?

      He did ACCURATELY quote you, did he not? IN FACT, he omitted your most controversial/humorous posit, Hayhoe said a background of climate change had an impact on every rainstorm, heat wave or cold snap. <—— (Depending upon how this is presented, much can be stated about this.)

      More than that, he did AFFORD you a platform in which you could if you chose to educate on and elucidate your perspectives and views. Contrasted against many alarmists blogs, and indeed Steve's treatment of other scientists, you are given some very tender care.

      I guess what I'm saying, is that you shouldn't be so thinned skinned. Yes, Steve this group can be irritating, but I’m not sure what you’d expect from a bunch of skeptics who have been verbally abused since engaging in the discussion. Omnologos has a story that is common to most of us if not all. Sorry, but its become nature to assume the worst from climate scientists. I know it isn’t fair to lump you with the rest, but it is human nature. Steve seems to be a pretty nice guy, but he likely suffers from the same tainted view of climate science as the rest of us.

      More, (sorry about my verbosity) it seems to me, in that you appear to be desiring to engage the public with your thoughts, what better testing ground would there be than here? Another thing that makes me feel sorrowful, is that climate scientists no longer enjoy a general public trust. The time of making pronouncements and expecting the general public to simply accept it as truth has long since gone by. Katherine, this is about as big of a welcome mat that gets put out for a skeptical site. But, just so I’m clear, while I can’t speak for Steve, your presence is welcome and your views are read and your words considered. I’m not sure anyone can ask for much more.

      Kindest regards,


      • K Hayhoe says:

        Hi James,

        I think we all agree that one event in one location by itself is clearly not unprecedented nor unusual. It would be like saying that someone definitely got lung cancer because they smoked–if we had no evidence of anyone else ever having gotten lung cancer from smoking, and we did not have any studies documenting physical mechanisms by which smoking could induce cancer.

        In the case of smoking and lung cancer, however, we have very solid statistics based on large populations of millions that smoking increases cancer risk. We also have medical studies documenting actual physical mechanisms whereby smoking can enhance cancer risk. So when we say that smoking likely contributed to a specific person’s risk of cancer, we are implicitly referring to the large background of information that exists, not just our knowledge of that one person.

        In the case of climate change and extreme precipitation events, we have similar evidence. Long-term, statistically significant upward trends in heavy rainfall events for individual regions around the world as well as for the planet as a whole have been documented by many peer-reviewed studies over the last decade. This is analogous to documenting how lung cancer risk increases among populations of smokers. Just as we can’t definitively attribute one incidence of cancer to smoking, so we can’t definitively attribute one extreme event to a long-term trend. But we can certainly say that a single event is consistent with a long-term trend.

        However, this argument still relies on a correlation, not a physical causation. So we next have to ask: are there any physical mechanisms by which warmer temperatures would be expected to affect precipitation patterns? (in other words, is there a physical reason why smoking would increase risk of lung cancer?) Again, the answer is yes: there are many published studies documenting physical mechanisms by which a warmer world would lead to increased evaporation, higher humidity levels, and significant shifts in the distribution of precipitation.

        Back to the single event, now. Can we say a single event was because of a warming world? No–no scientist worth their salt would ever say that. However, what we can say is that a single event is consistent with a larger trend, and that larger trend HAS been linked to global climate change, both statistically and physically.

        As I said to Steve earlier, if anyone disagrees with this statement, then they need to focus their efforts on the root of the disagreement, namely the studies that have demonstrated the validity of these global trends, rather than assuming that atmospheric scientists are unaware of what one event says about the statistics of a distribution.



      • Mike Davis says:

        in other words Smoking increases the risk of cancer in a large portion of smokers but that is not the same as claiming that smoking causes cancer. There are many other substances that are inhaled that also increase the risk of being afflicted with cancer.
        In the case of climate change we have evidence that extreme weather events have been happening since the globe started having weather events and that has not changed. There is NO specific Fingerprint for AGW or human induced catastrophic climate change.
        There are cases of people that did not smoke also developing lung cancer.
        Your claims of Long Term fall short when compared to geological time periods which are the real Long Term measurements as it is well established that the globe experiences a 120thousand glacial/ interglacial variation so periods shorter are just transitions from one extreme to the next. Any thing is possible over short time spans of 1 or 2 thousand years.
        Coincidence is not correlation. Just because both are observed during a similar time period does not. The increase in the number smiths in the phone book probably is better correlated than CO2 to the extreme weather and the cost of US postage stamps has an even better statistical correlation with the weather patterns than any of the others.
        As for temperature change driving weather events you might consider that cooling causes even more dramatic events than warming.
        Weather is a fascinating subject to study and having lived and worked in extreme weather I took time to study it as well as geology which is the study of really long term weather events that shaped the earth as we know it.

      • Paul in Sweden says:

        K Hayhoe says:
        May 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

        In the case of smoking and lung cancer, however, we have very solid statistics based on large populations of millions that smoking increases cancer risk. We also have medical studies documenting actual physical mechanisms whereby smoking can enhance cancer risk.

        We do not see the cases of lung cancer rapidly decline with increased smoking. We do however see average global temperatures rise and fall while there is a constant increase in GHGs. So lung cancer would be a very poor choice to compare with CAGW.

        We do not see increased numbers or intensity in extreme weather events as predicted by the CAGW movement.

        We do not see a tropical hot spot fingerprint as predicted by the CAGW movement.

        We do not see long term increases in sea level rise as predicted by the CAGW movement..

        In fact we see the same fluctuations in climate that has been recorded throughout history and the paleo record.

        Anthropogenic GHG emissions and CO2 continue to rise and there is no evidence to support the claims of the most vocal scientists and personalities in the CAGW movement that CO2 is the dominate forcing in our global climate.

        If we exaggerated the evidence presented by the CAGW movement, perhaps we could compare anthropogenic CO2 emissions to a very slight draft in a remote corner in the basement of your home.It would be unsound to mortgage your home and borrow money from your neighbors to employ a radical never proven insulation practice proposed by a cadre of once respected construction firms that go town to town with dancing bears and colored balloons.

        Instead of punitive taxes and policies based on the theory of CAGW, our money is better spent on food and our food is better placed in our mouths instead of being burned as fuel in our cars just to please hippies.

    • PhilJourdan says:


      I take it you are young. For if you had any age then you would know that the only thing certain in life is change (forget the death and taxes). Your records are for a very puny short time in the history of the area in question, yet you want every year to be a carbon copy of the previous one. The fact that weather (and by extension climate) changes is a given. The problem is we have yet to figure out how or why.

      And you would have us sacrafice the lives of our children and grandchildren for unsubstantiated hysteria? The skeptics are not a danger to our future, chicken littles are.

      • glacierman says:

        But if you can get paid to study change (since it is constant), PhDs will have awesome job security. You just have to convince enough people that the change means doom, and you can do something about it.

      • PhilJourdan says:

        PhDs already have awesome job security. If they did not, almost none would be employed since most stopped learning when they got the degree.

  8. K Hayhoe says:

    Sorry, I omitted a word above. The sentence should read, “Annual means tell us nothing whatsoever about extreme precipitation.”

  9. nofreewind says:

    Katherine, refer to this article
    to learn about the wacky world of statistics that you live in.

  10. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Union of Concerned Scientists is a misleading name for that organization. It is not comprised solely of scientists. It should be called Union of Environmental Activists.

    …..an alliance of more than 250,000 citizens and scientists. UCS members are people from all walks of life: parents and businesspeople, biologists and physicists, teachers and students….


  11. Justa Joe says:

    World, Stop your “weirding” right now, young man!

    We as humans have a right to expect that your patterns of behaviour conform to a standard that we’ve become accustomed to and to remain perfectly accomodating to mankind.

  12. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    I’ve been told peer review is important for global warming believers. Was this statement peer reviewed before given to the press?

  13. Mike Davis says:

    If West Texas went 10 years without rain it would not be unprecedented in the geological history of West Texas. I wonder how Katharine would feel about experiencing a 500 year drought that has been recorded in that region of the US just within the last 100 thousand years. Climate is not a short term thing and claiming thirty years defines regional climate is the mark of a fool that does not even understand long term weather patterns.

  14. Andy Weiss says:


    I don’t know if you were misquoted, but the article does say “heavy rains, deep snowfalls, monster floods and killing droughts are the signs of the “new normal”.
    Also “there is a lot going on these days that is not what we’re used to”.

    The only evidence given to support your sweeping generalities is that one station is West Texas had a record period without measurable rain and also two heavy rain events.

    That is not the kind of vague “proof” that one would expect from a serious scientist.

    As skeptics, we are so used to seeing generalities being cast as science (by non-scientists in the media) that we are naturally going to cringe when a serious scientist does the same.

    If you wanted to gain traction with us, you should have presented better evidence than one or two quirky happenings at a single station. At least Steve’s graph gave some evidence that nothing is that far out of kilter.

  15. Latitude says:

    I am honestly disappointed; I had hoped for logic and courtesy in our exchanges but that was too much to ask.

    Yours sincerely,
    Katharine Hayhoe
    And that’s why you wrote that clear enough that it wouldn’t be misleading……..
    “west Texas has seen a record-length dry period over the last five years”

    When you become an honest broker, you can then claim the right to complain.

  16. Hello all – I am “omnologos”. I am still very…skeptical of being able to have a fruitful exchange with Katharine Hayhoe. And I still think that being surrounded by like-minded people and unquestioning reporters makes scientists ill-suited to communicate with opinionated people, unless those opinions coincide with the scientists’ (and what is there to communicate then?).

    If Ms Hayhoe is serious about visiting this site and engaging its audience I suggest she write a guest post describing step-by-step how to go from the initial data to “global weirding”. Please avoid “and then a miracle occurs” scenarios.

    Then we can talk. Everything else will be an exchange of “I’m right, you’re wrong”. Not worth the time.

    • Mike Davis says:

      Omnologos/ Maurizio:
      I am no longer “Sceptical” of the claims made by researchers such as Ms Hayhoe as they follow in the examples set for them by the leaders in the field of Fantasy Literature. Just as I am not sceptical about the existence of Santa or a witch that put a princess to sleep for a thousand years with one bite of an apple. By associating herself with sceptical science and the union of concerned scientists Ms Hayhoe has removed herself form the field of science and entered the field of fantasy just the rest of the Chicken Little Wannabes.
      Maybe a raindrop fell on her head and she thought she was experiencing a flash flood or she forgot to water her lawn and thought it was because of an imagined drought. The region is not considered arid because of an over abundance of rain fall.

  17. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    I forgot to say one thing:

    showing the picture of the doll in that setting is maximizing on sensationalism. There is no excuse for such cheap journalism!

    • Mike Davis says:

      It is simply pornographic to show an unclothed doll laying in that position. It is almost as if it were deliberately posed. The upside down vehicle in the background is also a nice touch but something that can be expected after an extreme weather event.
      What else would you expect from Chicken Little?

      • Latitude says:

        It’s exactly what you would expect…..

        Claiming to be the victim, after writing something that misleading

        The question is, “if you understand it, as you claim, why did you write it that way?”

  18. Paul in Sweden says:

    If West Texas rapidly changed into lush forests with orchids and farms like the San Fernando valley in California; I could see Katharine Hayhoe making claims of West Texas’ dramatic climate change and expect her to tell us how her grandchildren will never know prolonged drought & floods. I however find it quite farcical when Katharine Hayhoe states things such as “It’s either feast or famine. It’s either really dry or it’s really wet. We’re not getting a lot in the middle” when referencing West Texas(a region which is comprised of desert, arid & semi-arid lands).

    In one of the previous threads, Katarine Hayhoe referred us to one of her peer-reviewed papers which graphically illustrated that West Texas has the same Wet/Dry as the rest of Texas as well as most of the Untied States. Peer-Review says one thing and shock “climate science” tabloid interviews with researchers claim horror scenarios.

  19. Paul H says:


    I asked this question once before but must have been too late to catch your attention.

    What does your data say about Texas in the 1930’s when temperatures there and in the US generally were as high if not higher than now? Do they show the same climate extremes?


  20. omnologos says:

    What’s supremely funny is that there is a little file being collected somewhere “demonstrating” what a bunch of scientist-abusing nutjobs we are…when the issue is that the scientist is absolutely unable to communicate in full the reasons for her findings (and opinions) to anything else than a supportive audience.

    Politically speaking, Ms Hayhoe is self-destined to remain in the minority.

    • Paul in Sweden says:

      What is supremely not funny is that self-propagating government interests, science foundations & NGOs, certain industries, the MSM, and some “climate scientists” have all formed a cadre to push upon the entire world’s population their political ideals and make a bundle of money while doing so. We are not stupid. We have our own knowledge bases. We understand the political & financial aspirations of the climate industry.

      Daily Herald – May 18, 2011
      Climate change panel
      Hayhoe was one of four panelists convened by Brokaw to explore the critical issues of climate change. The June 2011 issue of the journal Discover, a popular-level science magazine, carries a summary of their discussion, a town hall format for high school and college students held at Yale University this past January. Discover has teamed up with the National Broadcasting Corporation and the National Science Foundation for this meeting and for two further ones to be reported in the

      September and December issues.

      Other panelists on this initial discussion included Linda Fisher, the chief sustainability officer at DuPont who has a broad background in law, environmental issues, and health programs. Another is Billy Parish, who dropped out of Yale in 2002 to begin a series of primarily youth-based organizations to “advocate for a clean-energy economy.” Lastly is Rajendra Pachauri[Tera Energy Management/UN-IPCC], native of India and probably the best-known name in climate-change literature, owing to his being the chair of the United Nations’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, awarded a recent Nobel Peace Prize).

      The panel deals with a number of common concerns about climate change. Will dealing with it do major damage to our economy? Fisher summarizes the results from DuPont, which began several years ago to move to a healthier way of doing business. Some company shareholders had concerns with this move, but ” … I think that has changed. First of all, we are starting to make a lot of money.”

      Die Klimazwiebel: Science in a Digital Society
      May 19, 2011
      “The workshop “Science in a Digital Society”, which currently takes place in Lisbon, is based on the assumption that ICT (information & communication technologies) definitely will alter the ways knowledge will be produced. On the second Lisbon workshop this year, funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commision and the Gulbenkian Foundation, the answer is yes, science will change. Its program says (all quotes are from the workshop abstract):

      The workshop proposes to explore in an anticipatory mode how ICT technologies and their future developments will affect the conduct of scientific research in the future.

      Postnormal science wouldn’t exist without ICT. Its ICT that trigger change, and it will change our understanding of science:

      We have come a long way from the popular image of the Scientist as a lone bespectacled white male in a white lab-coat holding up a test-tube to the light and realising that he has discovered the cure for cancer. Science has become a major social institution, providing support to established institutions and intimately connected to underlying ideologies that hold society together. Along with its great benefits, it produces errors, some of them may lead to harmful situations; as an institution science shares the challenges and pathologies of the societies in which it is embedded. Science was once promising certainty and power on the basis of its valuefree discoveries. Today, in this post-normal age, it has to cope with uncertain facts and disputed values in the face of high stakes and urgent policy decisions. The social responsibilities of science and of scientists become ever more challenging in this new digital age.”

      • Paul in Sweden says:

        Fisher from DuPont says, “First of all, we are starting to make a lot of money“, but there is no question that that money is not money generated by honest & healthy commerce but instead by the redistribution of wealth through government taxes and mandates.

  21. “social responsibilities of scientists”? More like….”national-socialist responsibilities of scientists”…

  22. omnologos says:

    We are getting somewhere but still far away from global weirding. any news on the missing steps?

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