Reporters Miss The Boat (Again) on Fargo Flood, Fail to Mention It Fits Global Warming Trends

In an interview with reporters last week, President Barack Obama correctly raised the point that global warming could lead to more severe flooding events in the future.  Although it’s impossible to link a specific event to global climate change – as Obama was careful not to do – the record-breaking flooding of the Red River in Fargo, North Dakota is consistent with the trend towards increased frequency and severity of extreme precipitation events predicted by the climate science community.

“I actually think the science around climate change is real. It is potentially devastating,” Obama told the reporters.  “If you look at the flooding that’s going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, ‘If you see an increase of two degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?’ That indicates the degree to which we have to take this seriously.“

But not a single reporter – in the meeting or otherwise – made that critical point in all the Fargo flood coverage over the past week.

Joe Romm writes on Climate Progress that “you’ll have to look very hard to find a single story in the mainstream media that even mentions climate change (other than the few quoting our President) — even though the record “once-in-a-hundred-year flooding” the Midwest now seems to be getting every few years or so is precisely what scientists have been expecting from the warming.”

Romm’s post at details the science behind the predictions of more extreme flooding events, providing documentation and explanation that even the laziest reporter could understand.  If any of them ever took the time to read it, that is.

Romm adds the necessary caveat that reporters shouldn’t go hog wild and “link every extreme weather event” to global warming.  That’s not the point, although the deniers will say it is ad nauseum.

The take-home message for responsible reporters is that “when we have ‘worst on record’ type events, or 100-year floods — and especially ones that last more than a day and hit a broad area — then I think the reporter has an obligation to include the issue [of global warming],” Romm writes.

When will reporters begin to oblige? 


I just love “climate Science”, the unfalsifiable hypothesis. It’s hotter/colder, wetter/drier, windier/calmer- it must be “climate change”.

Any of you guts heard of Karl Popper? One of his most important contributions was “the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment”.

Climate Science fails is vital test as it is specifically designed to be non-falsifiable.


Oh yes and as a matter of interest extreme floods have been decreasing in recent years!


Heine, K.  2004.  Flood reconstructions in the Namib Desert, Namibia and Little Ice Age climatic implications: Evidence from slackwater deposits and desert soil sequences.  Journal of the Geological Society of India 64: 535-547.

Zhang, Q., Chen, J. and Becker, S. 2007. Flood/drought change of last millennium in the Yangtze Delta and its possible connections with Tibetan climatic changes. Global and Planetary Change 57: 213-221.

Cyberski, J., Grzes, M., Gutry-Korycka, M., Nachlik, E. and Kundzewicz, Z.W. 2006. History of floods on the River Vistula. Journal des Sciences Hydrologiques 51: 799-817.

Wolfe, B.B., Karst-Riddoch, T.L., Vardy, S.R., Falcone, M.D., Hall, R.I. and Edwards, T.W.D.  2005.  Impacts of climate and river flooding on the hydro-ecology of a floodplain basin, Peace-Athabasca Delta, Canada since A.D. 1700.  Quaternary Research 64: 147-162.

Svensson, C., Kundzewicz, Z.W. and Maurer, T. 2005. Trend detection in river flow series: 2. Flood and low-flow index series. Hydrological Sciences Journal 50: 811-824.


If you are, I would hate to be associated with whichever department give you degrees in science.

First of all, most scientists had probably never heard of Popper until his name popped up in the evolution/creation and AGW/denier discussions. Most scientists are not really interested in the philosophy of science, much preferring to get their hands dirty and actually do real science in the field or laboratory.

Popper was discussed in philosophy courses but rarely in science courses. That doesn’t mean that scientists didn’t do what Popper suggested, only we just called it the scientific method and listened to our peers and mentors.

The fact that you claim AGW is unfalsifiable just shows how ignorant of climate science you are.

You can falsify AGW in at least two ways.

Firstly, produce repeatable results that show that carbon dioxide does not act as a greenhouse gas. Or provide evidence that there is some, presently unknown, mechanism that under certain conditions suppresses the interaction of infra-red radiation on the molecular properties of the carbon dioxide molecule.

Secondly, if you can show that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not comming from fossil fuels. If you can do either of these, then “Eureka” you have falsified AGW.

Since you claim that AGW doesn’t exist or is not producing the effects that climate scientists say it is then why have you not published your results in a prestigious scientific journal?

The reason of course is that you and the other dishonest deniers have no knowledge of the science and use lies, cherry picking of data, obfuscation and misinterpretation of data to try and convince people who have very little understanding of real science that you are correct.

That is dishonest. It is the only way deniers can make any case to prop up their mistaken idea that AGW is not occurring. Shame on you for being a part of that if, in fact, you are a scientist as previously disclosed.

“although its impossible to link a specific event to global climate change” we will here b/c no one will call us on it. then we will write the rest of the story indicating that this is a harbinger of things to come. exxon had a story about this and blamed the severe cold and huge snowfall this winter and spring (it snows in the spring now b/c of climate change) on the flooding. they actually said that the ice blocks were so large (football fields) that they had to dynamite the ice. exxons guess was that if it were 2 degrees hotter the snow fall might have been less and the ice blocks not as big a problem. joe romm piped in that even though we can’t link a specific event to climate change, when its really really really bad, then we can.

Interesting that Paul gets two thumbs down for presenting a sober and factual link to the history of flooding in the Red River basin. Don’t worry Paul, I countered with a thumbs up of my own. Two thumbs down? Burn this heretic at the stake! How dare he present facts. But then, I’ve seen it before on this site, so it doesn’t surprise me. I’ll be looking for my own thumbs down shortly.

I’m from this area myself and remember sand-bagging well back into the 1960s. Anyone from Southern Manitoba or North Dakota is familiar with the ring-dikes and aerial shots of massive flooding from as far back as anyone can remember. The Winnipeg floodway was constructed in the mid 60s to deal with the issue of regular flooding of the Red. I can’t remember it being linked to global warming back then, but this community seems surprised that none of the news articles from the area are mentioning it now. I have news for you … its because this is nothing new for them. Time and time again I have heard that you cannot refer to one singular event to confirm the impact of global warming, but surprise! NOW we can thanks to desmogblog! Visit these communities before telling them what is causing their problems. You might just find yourself being run out of town on a rail.

Flooding in this region has everything to do with geology and land-use practices. Floodways, ring dikes, catchment basins, riparian system redevelopment, zero-tillage practices, upstream mitigation (P.E. OConnell, et al) … these are the ways that have always been, and most likely will continue to be the methods of dealing with river flooding. Now we have to reduce our C02 emissions as well? Come on AGW proponents … you’re making yourselves look downright silly on this one.

I live in the Fargo Moorhead area.  While I’m a strong believer in global warming and the cause, I feel as though I must point out that the largest reason for the Fargo flooding problems is due to it’s geology. Fargo sits at the bottom of what used to be glacial lake Agassiz.  The Red River Valley is some of the flattest land in the world from the ice age then the lake came along and left large amounts of organic material in the soil  The soil is some of the richest in the world but these variables mean that the water just doesn’t drain.  We cannot handle water like other parts of the country can.


Ian, once again, your comment misses the point. You erect “strawmen”, such as “show that carbon dioxide does not act as a greenhouse gas”, when everyone knows that it is. More to the point you fail to mention that the absorption of infra-red by CO2 in the atmosphere is a logarithmic process which is already nearly saturated. Further absorption of infra-red by CO2 is limited and the only way that increased CO2 can cause a large (2-6C) rise in Global temperature is through unproven and unprovable computer models that incorporate entirely unrealistic positive feedbacks (John, V.O. and Soden, B.J. 2007. Temperature and humidity biases in global climate models and their impact on climate feedbacks. Geophysical Research Letters 34: 10.1029).


While we are on the subject of CO2, it has not proven to be a primary driver of climate change over geologic time (Rothman, D.H. (2002) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for the last 500 million years  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  99 (7):  4167-4171), nor during the recent glacial epochs. Al Gore tells the big lie in his film “The Inconvenient Truth” (which by the way was  proven in an English Court of Law to contain numerous significant errors) that “CO2 and temperature are in lockstep and when the CO2 rises the temperature rises.

Actually this is completely the opposite of what happens. When the temperature changes about 800 years later the CO2 changes (Monnin et al (2001). Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations over the Last Glacial Termination. Science, 291, p.112-114.). Talk about mixing up cause and effect!


So you just go ahead, show me without hand-waving and name calling, just how CO2 is a primary driver of climate change and not just some minor influence, whose importance has been inflated out of all proportion to suit the agenda of a politicised “science”.

How much longer are we to be inundated with the lies, distortions and misinterpetations of this typical denier.

He only posts lies and disinformation. A simple check of any decent science site will show that this is true. Saturation, what a joke, the only thing that is saturated is this blog with his lies and dishonesty. Anyone can go and check e.g. Eli’s blog, to find out the truth about this denier lie.

Ian, here we are proof positive that CO2 is not causing heating by positive feedback in the atmosphere.

Basically if it was there would be a decrease in long-wave radiation emitted to space (i.e. it would be trapped by increased greenhouse gas absorbance.)

The reality there has been an increase in the amount of long-wave radiation emitted from the upper atmosphere into space.

These results have been confirmed by 4 separate studies.

Chen, J., B.E. Carlson, and A.D. Del Genio, 2002: Evidence for strengthening of the tropical general circulation in the 1990s. Science, 295, 838-841.


Cess, R.D. and P.M. Udelhofen, 2003: Climate change during 1985–1999: Cloud interactions determined from satellite measurements. Geophys. Res. Ltrs., 30, No. 1, 1019, doi:10.1029/2002GL016128.


Hatzidimitriou, D., I. Vardavas, K. G. Pavlakis, N. Hatzianastassiou, C. Matsoukas, and E. Drakakis (2004) On the decadal increase in the tropical mean outgoing longwave radiation for the period 1984–2000. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 4, 1419–1425.


Clement, A.C. and B. Soden (2005) The sensitivity of the tropical-mean radiation budget. J. Clim., 18, 3189-3203.

The papers you cite do not say anything about positve feedbacks. I should note that I haven’t read the papers (they are all behind a pay wall) but did read the abstracts and several comments on William Connelly’s blog (Stoat) about one of them.

How anyone can use these papers to support Lindzen’s Iris hypothesis just amazes me, especially by some one who claims to be a scientist. The papers looked at total OLR and did not specify wavelength. Do you know what that means? Probably not, so I will use a simple analogy that, hopefully any one as ignorant of science as you will understand.

Say I have two cups of coffee (non-insulated) one at 75 degrees C and one at 55 degrees C and examine their long wave length emissions. What do you think I would find? Well since you probably can’t work it out for yourself, the warmer cup will be emitting more radiation (simple physics) than the cooler one.

Thus the four papers you cite all show that since the atmosphere is warming it is emitting more long wavelength radiation into space. Nothing to do with positive or negative feedback just simple blackbody physics.

Now, if they had measured IR in the wavelengths that CO2 and H2O absorb that might have told us some thing but total long wave length radiation tells us nothing to support your (once more) faulty reasoning.

What the papers did show is that clouds did not block upward IR radiation. However the mechanism for that is not IR absorption but light scattering (which is not nearly as wavelength dependent as IR absorption). They found no increase in clouds which I believe is one of the things Lindzen says is responsible for his (discredited) Iris effect.

“The papers you cite do not say anything about positve feedbacks. I should note that I haven’t read the papers”

Wow … did the contents of these papers come to you in a vision?

If I were a proponent of AGW, I would find you a disgrace. I am sure you are an intelligent man and yet you present yourself as nothing short of a bully, in my opinion. You belittle and ridicule anyone who stands in your way and presents anything contrary to your belief. I know, I have been on the receiving end of your intimidation before. Coincidentally, I also received a similar email from a staunch AGW proponent, citing papers in his email that he himself had not even read, expecting that I should read them so as to “educate” myself. Nothing says “my mind is closed” more than a comment like that … or yours, above.

Do we have a new troll to contend with? Do you have anything useful to say about these papers? If not, you are just an AGW denier troll.

I am not a bully, I just don’t like people who come onto this blog and all they present is lies and smears of reputable scientists. If you have any factual evidence to support your stance then please present it. Otherwise, as I noted earlier, you are just a troll.

And what deniers are saying is “not contrary to (my) belief” but is denying the science that forms the basis for AGW.

Are you suggesting that I sent you an “intimidating  e-mail”? That is a very serious charge if that is what you are saying. I don’t even know who you are so how can I have sent you an e-mail? Talk about bullying, you are the bully. If you think that you will stop me from exposing lies and dishonesty by AGW deniers you will be disappointed. I suggest you go back to climatefraudit, wattswrongwithwatt and other denier sites where you will be encouraged in your bullying tactics.

I was not intimating that it was you who sent me the email. Re-read my comment. I merely stated that another individual with whom I correspond did a similar thing to what you did … that is, he sent me articles which he had not even read yet, but presumed to be supportive of his stance, just as you did not read articles which you presumed to be unsupportive of your stance.

And why would I bother to present evidence to the contrary when you have already made up your mind what to believe? And from the way you treat those who do provide constructive arguments, such as Phlogiston … why would I subject myself to such abuse? You did not counter the arguments he referenced, you simply put them down as denialist lies and misrepresentations.

Come on Phlogiston … I’m off to cash my Exxon-sponsored troll check … we can drink beer and laugh while the earth burns/freezes/changes/warms/cools/gets wetter/gets drier … or any number of those other inconvenient things that it just happens to do whether we do anything about it or not.

You are as ignorant of science as your pal phlogiston (ever hear of the term “sock puppet”?). I did not provide a list of papers which supported my “stance”. I was checking on the validity of the papers your troll friend cut and pasted from a denier website (without reading them I’m sure). I could not read the full papers but did read the abstracts and several comments made by climate scientists regarding the papers. From that it was obvious that they did not support the troll’s arguments. So you are wrong when you accuse me of not reading them when it was your pal phlogiston that didn’t read or understand them.


As for your comments about the e-mail, you can say what you want but you intended to infer that it came from me to try and smear my character. That is dishonest.


I don’t “believe” in anything to do with AGW. I have followed the science and the vast majority (aprox 98%) of papers in the peer reviewed scientific literature agrees on the effects of burning fossil fuels and production of other green house gases on our climate. It is not going to be good for mankind at all. Till you, and the other deniers, can produce solid data in peer reviewed journals you have absolutely nothing. It is people like you who “believe.” Scientists don’t “believe” they test, interpret and establish the scientific facts. Get it right.


You are also wrong when you say, “you did not counter the arguments he referenced”. You have a very low grasp of the English language, which is a common failing among deniers. I discussed the papers in enough detail to show that they didn’t support the claims being made for them. It was phlogiston who cites papers without reading, understanding or discussing them. You show further ignorance of English language when you accuse me of “putting them down as denialist (I never use that term I always refer to trolls like you as deniers) lies and misrepresentations”. Wow, how wrong can you be? Are you sure you finished Grade School? I said that the papers did not support phlogiston’s arguments that there were no positive feedbacks to CO2 temperature rise. The papers appear to be solid research and were written by competent scientists.

You win.

I would seek help if I were you.

Bye now … no intelligent life here.

Do you actually have a life outside your support of dishonest lying deniers? Maybe you are struggling to make it out of elementary school and make it to be with the “big kids”.

Who knows, any way it is a relief to see that you are departing.

By the way, what sort of help do you think I need?

Ian, if you really think that the kind of gratuitous abuse you hurl at anyone who has a different opinion from you helps your cause, or makes you look better than the bloggers you refer to as “denialist trolls”, you really do need professional help.

PS- I don’t blame you Geoff. There is very little in the way of intelligence, or reasoned argument from the Alarmists on this site, but I am d****d if I am going to be browbeaten by a religious fundamentalist.

I think some of you people are jumping at the opportunity to blame this flood on global warming.  Most of you have no idea why Fargo had a flood.  Before you blame this event on global warming you should answer a few questions.

1.  How much rain fell in this area from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 ?

2.  How much snow fell in this area during the winter?

3.  How much rain fell in this area during the winter?

4.  How saturated was the soil on November 1st?

5.  How cold did it get this winter?

6.  How deep did the frost go into the ground this winter?

7.  How flat is this area?

8.  What is the average elevation change for every mile you travel on the river?

9.  What direction does the river flow?

10.  How much precipitation fell in March of this year?

Answer these questions and you will have a better understanding of this event.

 PS When you get the answers to these questions you will have a better understanding of this event.  If you can’t find the answers I will clue you in.

When you row a boat on the pond why does the boat go forward when you are pulling the oars back toward you?

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Why While walking across a bridge you saw a boat full of people Yet on the boat there was not a single person?

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