Texas Tumbleweed Terror

November 19, 2011

I was going to like, edit this thing down and use some part of it, but, sometimes you see something that’s so perfect,  well, you just don’t want to touch it.

You saw it here first.

29 Responses to “Texas Tumbleweed Terror”

  1. daveburton Says:

    “Last year we had a lot of rain… all the tumbleweeds they grew really well… that gave us a bumper crop of tumbleweeds, now with the drought they’re all breakin’ loose…”

    My question: which is it that was caused by AGW? The rain, or the drought?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      its not so hard.
      climate change causes extremes of drought, and precipitation.
      moreover, there is an effect from the el nino cycle that is playing out – amplified by climate change, as John Nielsen-Gamman has shown.

      https://climatecrocks.com/2011/08/30/graph-of-the-day-spot-the-outlier/

      It’s only hard for those that really don’t want to understand.

      • daveburton Says:

        In other words, anything bad that happens, whether hot or cold, wet or dry, is due to “climate change” (neeGlobal Warming). Change = bad.

        (But if change = bad, then why did you vote for Mr. hopey-changey, Barack Obama?)

        Actually, sometimes change = good. For instance, if taking CO2 to 570 ppm could make agriculture 26% more productive, world-wide, I’d call that change very, very good. Wouldn’t you?

        • Alteredstory Says:

          I don’t know why this is so hard for you…

          The global climate is changing.

          ALL of the global climate.

          All of the climate, all over the planet is changing. That also means that ALL of the weather ALL over the planet is changing.

          ALL of it.

          The place is warming up. ALL of it – the WHOLE PLANET.

          Warmer means more evaporation. This was predicted DECADES ago.
          Warmer means more rain. This was predicted DECADES ago.
          Warmer also means snowstorms that have more snow, which was ALSO predicted decades ago.

          As to the change thing, change in certain areas is good, and in others it’s bad. Losing a limb is change, and that’s generally bad. Falling in love is change, and that’s generally good.

          When the CLIMATE changes quickly, it is bad, for us, because it means that we get worse droughts, worse floods, and worse storms. THIS WAS PREDICTED DECADES AGO. Why are you still surprised about it?

          As to your agriculture numbers, you seem to be forgetting that plants do not live on CO2 alone. Don’t believe me? Take a plant, put it in a pot, and leave it outside in the city – lots of CO2. Put a covering over it so it doesn’t get any of that rain you seem to think it doesn’t need.

          Oh wait, of course you DO know that plants need water, you just don’t seem to be able to make the connection between WARMER because of more CO2, and DROUGHT because of WARMER, and lack of plant growth because of DROUGHT.

          Plants can’t use CO2 if they’re too dry.

          Plants can’t use CO2 if they’re too hot.

          In summary:
          1- Bad change is bad, good change is good.
          2- Global climate change means that the whole planet is experiencing a change in climate. All of it.
          3 – Global changes in climate mean that the weather all over the entire planet also changes. All of it.
          4 – plants need CO2, but the also need water. That’s why plants still die in drought. More food isn’t any good if it’s water you’re lacking.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            It’s hard for him, because to understand it, he would have to accept science and reason, rather than ideology and rationalization.

          • daveburton Says:

            Altered Story wrote: “The place is warming up. ALL of it – the WHOLE PLANET.”

            Except where it isn’t, which includes most of the planet, these days:

            Here in the USA, of the six warmest years on record, only one was in this century, and three were over 75 years ago.

            “Warmer means more evaporation. This was predicted DECADES ago.”

            Actually, 4 decades ago the consensus prediction was that we were slipping into a new ice age, due to the cooling effect of air pollution. (You might be too young to remember that.) That was one of the reasons we installed scrubbers on all our coal-fired power plants.

            When we did that, the climate got a bit warmer, as might be expected.

            However, the Climate Movement doesn’t like to talk about that, because the more warming is attributed to that, the less is attributable to CO2, and the less scary warming can be expected for the future. These guys are dependent on FUD, and if the amount of warming in prospect isn’t sufficiently scary then they won’t get their grant money.

            “Warmer also means snowstorms that have more snow, which was ALSO predicted decades ago.”

            Decades ago? I don’t think so. Even just one decade ago we read that “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past” in England, due to Global Warming. Google it, and read:

            “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” said Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, and within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event.”

            “Warmer means more rain… WARMER because of more CO2, and DROUGHT because of WARMER.”

            So you’re talking about the “more rain” kind of droughts, as opposed to the less rain kind of droughts?

            “Falling in love is change, and that’s generally good.”

            That depends on what you fall in love with. If you are a scientist, and you fall in love with your pet theory, it leads to confirmation bias, or worse. This phenomenon is very widely observable in the Climate Movement.

            “Plants can’t use CO2 if they’re too dry.”

            True, but it is also true that with more CO2 plants need less water. You probably didn’t know that, and it’s not intuitively obvious, but if you google for water+co2+stomata you’ll learn why.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            “they predicted an ice age” nonsense treated here.
            you should watch the videos to avoid embarrassing yourself mouthing time-worn
            shibboleths.


  2. It does look like an update of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes…anybody interested, in Hollywood?


  3. Tumbleweeds in the NY Times (pre-1981): “Water Lack Threatens Major Texas Farm Area; 30 Years of Growth Imported Water Sought ‘I’ll Be Retired'” (alas, it’s from March 21, 1977)

    “Round-Up Time — With a Difference; Drought and falling prices have lent a new urgency to the annual cattle drives.” (oops…it’s from October 24, 1954)

    “IN THE LAND MADE DESOLATE BY DROUGHT; A Vivid Picture of a World Transformed, Where High Courage Keeps Hope Alive” (oh no! It’s from July 22, 1934)

    Then there is “Drought and Dust Storms Ravaging Much of Texas; Worst Drought and Dust Storms in 15 Years Are Ravaging Texas” (1971), “The Dust Bowl in Grip of 2-Year Drought; The Dust Bowl Is in the Grip of Two-Year Drought” (1965), etc etc etc.

    Again pre-1981:

    texas + floods: 1,908 articles
    texas + drought: 3,668 articles
    texas + “nice weather”: 2 articles (well, I presume few get paid to report nice weather)

    • greenman3610 Says:

      obviously you missed the eval from the Texas State Climatologist of this current event.

      Texas State Climatologist 1, internet navel gazer, 0


      • Yawn…every epoch has somebody declaring current Texas weather events as super-mega-exceptional…

        “Cost of Emergency Relief Soars For ‘Worst Drought in Century’; Two-thirds of Nation’s Counties on Impact List –Thousands of Farmers Are Suffering” – July 31, 1977

        “Drought Evokes Flurry of Theories; Current Drought Brings Forth a Flurry of Theories Many Theories Exist Forest Shifted Its Boundaries New Dust Bowl Discounted” – July 29, 1980

        “CRUSHING DROUGHT IN TEXAS ENDING IN STORM AND FLOODS
        By ROBERT REINHOLD” – October 16, 1984 – HOUSTON, Oct. 15— Heavy rains that have drenched Texas over the last few weeks are beginning to bring a merciful end to the worst drought in a generation.

        “Flooding Persists After Record Rain” (May 8, 1990) containing the opening: “HOUSTON, May 7— The worst floods in decades, caused by storms nearly a week ago, are still plaguing large areas of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.”

        It’s like the last cigarette of a serial smoking quitter. I don’t understand how you can talk about “climate” by discounting all accumulated history in favor of the scientific interpretation “du jour”.


  4. The permaculturist in me wonders, “what functions do these tumbleweeds serve?” Looks like more web research in my future.

    My first thought was MULCH!! Grind them suckers up and spread ’em around to conserve what precious little moisture remains in the ground. But maybe there are other functions they could serve that I don’t know about. How did native peoples use them? Do they fix nitrogen? Do they provide habitat for animals and insects? Do they make edible seed?

    In other words, what ecological good are they? Our planet wants to self-repair and actively works to do just that. We need to cooperate and encourage this through soil building. Something else you’ll see through reading old newspaper articles and farm records over the decades is the loss of topsoil.

    We work really hard to fail…when maybe nature is handing us (or blowing at us) a part of the solution.

  5. daveburton Says:

    Question #2: That graph at 1:53 is rather strange. The X-axis isn’t date, it’s June-August rainfall. The dot on his graph which is closest to 2011 is 1934, and the dot which is farthest away from 2011 is 2007. So, what is supposed to be the significance of the trend-line he’s fitted to those dots?

    If that graph is supposed to be related to global warming, then it appears from his graph that CAGW was most severe in 2011, but 2nd-most-severe in 1934, before there was any appreciable human contribution to atmospheric CO2. So how is it that Dr. Neilson-Gammon attributes this drought to “climate change” (a/k/a Global Warming)?

    BTW, the drought in southwest Texas is still very severe, but the drought in southeast Texas has eased lately:
    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/productview.php?pil=DGTHGX

  6. adelady Says:

    Dave, Nielsen-Gammon didn’t put it this simple way, but it works for me.

    The longer you have a series of observations, the less and less likely it becomes for records to be broken ……. IF the climate (or other system) is stationary. If the climate were stationary, you’d have a pretty even balance of low and high record temperatures (or precipitation or whatever) with no discernible trend. And the number of record setting/breaking events should decline the longer the series continues.

    The only way you can have new highs/ lows being recorded in a particular direction is if the system is changing in that direction. The US is now showing a trend of new highs being recorded twice as often as new lows. In some places it’s 5 to 1.

    And there are some, like the record one-year drought in Texas or the Russian heatwave last year or the loss of Arctic ice volume, where you have not just a new record, but the record is outside the 2 sigma range. Not an indicator of a stationary or even a stable system.


    • adelady – IF the climate (or other system) is stationary

      Is the climate system supposed to be and remain stationary? Says who?

      The longer (and wider) you have a series of climate observations, the more and more likely it becomes for records to be broken, somewhere at some time.

      • adelady Says:

        I don’t think it’s stationary, but people who claim that “it ain’t happenin'” do claim that – even though they might use other expressions.

        As for climate (or other) records ‘widening’ …… each new set introduced has to establish its own baseline. So the records aren’t exactly the same set … if that’s what you’re getting at. For advanced economies like the USA, the climate records are pretty comprehensive anyway so that’s not really an issue.

        Most ‘record-breaking’ events are simply 1 or 2 degrees or even less, or a couple of days for heatwaves, or similar margins for height of floods or periods of drought. Those are generally within the ‘expected’ or near-enough-to-normal range of values. When you’re talking records outside 2 or 3 or even 4 sigma ranges, you should sit up and take notice. And you should really prop your eyelids open with toothpicks when such extremely unlikely events happen one after another – you need to be on the lookout for the signs that indicate whether this is continuing or abating.

    • daveburton Says:

      W/r/t Arctic ice volume, you’re confusing speculation with data. We have better data for ice extent than for ice volume, but we don’t even have data for ice extent prior to 1979.

      What is known is that the 1970s were a markedly cold period, so it is not surprising that ice extent is down since then. The mistake the alarmists make is in pretending that they know something real about ice extent (or worse, volume!) prior to 1979.

      The (admittedly imperfect) surface temperature record indicates that the 1930s were quite a bit warmer than the 1970s, so it is likely that Arctic ice extent and volume were lower in the 1930s than the 1970s, too, but we don’t know for sure, because there were no satellite observations back then.

      Likewise, we know that Greenland was a lot warmer 1000 years ago than it is now, so it is likely that Arctic ice extent and volume were lower then than now, but we don’t know for sure.

      • adelady Says:

        There may not have been satellites in the 1930s. But there were plenty of whaling, fishing and naval vessels as well as the huge merchant shipping fleets.

        If there’d been so much open water available then for any of these activities, you can bet every shirt you’ve ever owned that the Brits, Russians, Norwegians, Canadians, Americans and all the commercial operators would’ve been in there in droves. Along with all the surveyors, geographers, cartographers, port builders and whaling/fishing processors – and a goodly number of fur hunters and other crazy expeditioners.

        They weren’t.

        • daveburton Says:

          I didn’t say there was no ice in the 1930s. But, since temperatures were warmer in the 1930s than the 1970s, it is likely that Arctic ice extent and volume were lower in the 1930s than the 1970s, don’t you agree?

          Contrary to your assumption, there is anecdotal evidence, as well. For instance:

          Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says — “ ‘A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, engendering a ‘serious international problem,’ Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist, said today.” — New York Times, May 30, 1937

          • adelady Says:

            dave “…it is likely that Arctic ice extent and volume were lower in the 1930s than the 1970s, don’t you agree?”

            I doubt it for extent and I strongly disagree for volume. My reading is that there may have been an occasional year where extent declined markedly _compared to the extent usual for that historical period_ but nothing like the year by year sustained low numbers we see in the last 15 years.

            Have a look at the 1951- 99 figures here from the Canadian Cryosphere people. http://ccin.ca/cms/en/seaIce/pastSeaIce.aspx#area

            No need to get fancy. Just use the eye-crometer to judge how frequently the maximum went above 15 million sq km before and after 1979. Then do the same for how often the minimum went below 7 million. And none of these figures are anything like the disastrously low figures of the last 5 years.

            The reason I strongly disagree on the volume speculation is that, without satellites, the only figure available for observation is extent. So you can’t calculate concentration / area of ice. And you certainly can’t say anything about volume – except to note that the ice seems to recover fairly quickly from low extent years which indicates that there’s plenty of bulk available.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            U of Illinois, cryosphere today has this

            I sure at least as accurate as Burton’s google enhanced navel gazing

          • daveburton Says:

            Prior to 1979 the data is extrapolations from speculations. There just isn’t any trustworthy data for sea ice extent and volume prior to the satellite coverage.

            Do you realize what “uses regional ice charts compiled by Professor John Walsh of the University of Alaska” means? Arctic pack ice is free-floating, and blown around by the wind. You simply can’t extrapolate total coverage or volume from sporadically sampled “regional ice charts” for a small percentage of the whole Arctic.

            Dr. Walsh has written repeatedly on arctic climate modeling, so my guess is that he used computer models to fill in the gaps, extrapolating to produce “data” that is really just guesses.

  7. Zosma Raine Says:

    Whoah! Those sure are big tumbleweeds! The bit from the 2 minute 20 secs mark where they’re rolling acoss the road. Yikes!

  8. Martin_Lack Says:

    Was this where the producers of Star Trek got the idea for Tribbles?


  9. […] reported on Texas’ drought-enhanced Tumbleweed Terror. Now there’s a deluge of abandoned […]


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