This June we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the best audit ever, a series of posts written by John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State climatologist. I call him NG because that’s how he signs his comments. The series starts with this entry on his Climate Abyss blog:
The Houston Chronicle revamped its website many times over the years. Each iteration made finding the series harder. So I compiled a list, with each entry archived:
- The first entry is archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Minus 5, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Minus 4, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Minus 3, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Minus 2, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Minus 1, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R-Day, Part 1, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R-Day, Part 2, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Plus 1, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Plus 2, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Plus 3, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Plus 5, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Plus 15, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R Plus 20, archived here.
- Diary Entry: R plus n, archived here.
- Diary Entry: George Bomar’s Thoughts, archived here.
- Diary Entry: The Last Word, archived here.
Here’s what I like about the series. It shows how contrarians click: we’re on a quest to experience something nobody’s ever experienced before. It shows how a meteorologist thinks in situ. It also shows how business ventures rest both on trust and distrust, and how life can be fun even when nothing happens. And then there’s this gem:
If you wait long enough, it will rain anywhere
I might as well introduce NG to new Climateball players. In 2011, he received the Woody Guthrie award for a thinking blogger from Bart Verheggen. In his Thank You note he lists his favorite posts from his blog. No idea what happened to this award.
NG’s a top defenseman in my Fantasy Draft. His exchange with Senior is still worth reading. For some reason Tony classified him in the lukewarm category. His response reveals the elegance of his thought:
I think it likely that the eventual impact will be so severe as to reflect disgracefully upon the human race.NG’s take on the AGW predicament
I took the opportunity to email John, asking him a few questions. He responded:
Q1. How’s life beyond Climateball?
We recently won the contract for the Southern Regional Climate Center, so I’m busy spinning that up. It’s basically a state climate office on steroids, with actually enough external funding to be able to do a decent job. We finished our first actual set of (very limited) climate change projections for Texas, based mostly on observed trends since people around here seem to trust those more:
I’ve pulled back from online and email climate change debates, since I have more than enough climate services work to do without also talking about climate change to people who are just asserting or defending a position.
Q2. If you are still Texas State Climatologist or still meet farming and business folks, do you feel that AGW is something they consider more nowadays?
After Harvey and Uri, I think people are tired of abstract discussions about whether climate change is real and have mostly moved on to actually doing something about all the bad weather. Mitigation is still a political hot potato, but adaptation is something just about everyone can agree on, so that’s where the progress is being made. People are open to the possibility of many types of extreme weather being worse in the future than in the present (climate science says: Harvey yes, Uri no) as long as trends in extreme weather don’t threaten their political identities.
Q3. Any new project (or audit) you’d like to share with climate-oriented readers?
We did some work for the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) recently on extreme rainfall. In addition to concerns about climate change, they wondered whether the official updated analysis of extreme rainfall probabilities had been unduly skewed by Harvey and other recent flooding events in the area. I found that ordinarily they should be concerned about climate change, but the recent spate of extreme rainfall had affected the analysis so much that present-day risk for, say, 100-year rainfall amounts, was probably overestimated. With climate change, the actual risk will probably allow reality to catch up with the overestimates by sometime around the middle of this century. That’s good news for HCFCD, but bad news for just about everyone else, whose risk of present-day extreme rainfall is already underestimated, let alone future risk.
Q4. Any music suggestions? Anything you like would do, with a link to a video. You could tell the readers about the music you listened to most to go through our current plague.
Over the past year, I’ve focused pretty heavily on the Dave Matthews Band channel on Sirius XM. I’m probably getting near to the end of that fetish, as I’ve started hearing DMB music spontaneously in my head. My favorite song of theirs used to be Grey Street — I love the way the refrain expands with each repeat and how the drums nearly explode at the end. But now I think I like Crush most of all, with its sense of wonder and excitement
Plus it’s a good teaching aid for when I want to get students started with the Coriolis Force.