I was quoted by Gene Koprowski in his Fox News story “Planet Earth Al Gore Explains ‘Snowmageddon’“. (This accounted for the several hundred Google and other search engine redirects to this site from people searching for “dr william m briggs”.)
Apparently, our boy Gore was telling all who would listen that global warming is so evil, so unrepentantly vile, that anything that has gone wrong in the world did so because of climate change. To paraphrase David Stove, Gore didn’t quite say that wooden legs were caused by global warming, but I don’t think he’d like to hear it denied.
Koprowski (also picked up here):
But not surprisingly, some climate-change skeptics are a bit hot under the collar over Gore’s “scientific” explanation.
“Gore’s statement actually indicates a deeper problem — lack of precise predictions,” said Dr. William M. Briggs, a statistician and climate scientist. His research shows that there are no increased weather problems because of global warming, Briggs told FoxNews.com.
“He’s saying that anything bad that happens must be because global warming caused it. Activists like Gore are great at identifying events after the fact as being caused by global warming, but terrible at predicting them beforehand,” Briggs said.
My research points to world-wide tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons). There is no evidence that these storms have increased in number, intensity or strength, or longevity. In fact, there might have been, over the past decade, a slight decrease in these attributes. But I think that this is well known.
The other argument I make is the better one. It takes no effort to point to untoward events after the fact and say, Jean Dixon-like, “See! More evidence that my theory is right!” If it is true that global warming will cause the Northern Hemisphere to experience cooler temperatures, then say so in advance. Don’t bustle to the cameras after things go wrong if you did not, or could not, say that they would in advance.
Vague predictions like “There will be snowstorms and rumors of snowstorms” do not count and are not evidence that the end is near. Take heed that no man deceive you. It is, after all, perfectly possible to forecast that there will be, say, “15% more snowfall in the 2010-2011 Northern Hemisphere winter”, or that “There will be at least three more Pacific ocean typhoons in 2011 than there were in 2010”, and so forth.
What is absurd is to point to a typhoon/cyclone/hurricane/snow storm after it has occurred and say that, “I could have predicted that if I wanted to. I chose not to because, among other reasons, I was busy. But that storm certainly indicates that my theory of climate change is true.”
Of course, it might be true that this storm was caused by mechanisms consistent with anthropogenic climate change theory; however, since every winter has its share of snowstorms, and that this winter is not unusual compared with history, this latest storm is also consistent with the theory that the climate is insignificantly affected by mankind. The same goes for weather events of other kinds.
It goes for non-events, too. Ever notice how talk of climate change always devolves to the apocalyptic? Floods! Droughts! Floods and droughts simultaneously! Windstorms! Deadly hurricanes! Heat waves! Democrats voting republican! One horror after another. This despite all historical and paleoclimatic evidence that warmer times were better, at least in terms biological.
Why won’t global warming be responsible for a “dramatic” increase in pleasant sunny afternoons? How come we won’t see an “unprecedented” number of warm, laconic evenings? Why won’t there be an “inconvenient” rise in bountiful harvests?
One reason folks like we (me and the regular crew here) are suspicious of global warming public scientists, activists, and miscellaneous proponents is because of their constant sourpuss attitude, their constant predictions of doom, their propensity to focus solely on the negative. They might even be right about all that, but when they tack on suggestions of how the rest of us should live our lives—which usually means surrendering freedom or money or both to government—we feel the winds blowing, all right. We also start feeling for our wallets.