The hottest spring ever. Hundred-year storms. The first tornado in 45 years to scythe through La Crosse. And now we’re on the brink of another record: The latest into spring without a 60-degree day.

There’s little doubt the Coulee Region has seen its share of extreme weather.

But is it happening more often, and is it caused by climate change?

Depends on who you ask, even among regional climate scientists.

“It’s very noisy data,” said Dr. Michael Notaro of the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research. “That’s the challenge with climate change research.”

Climate trends are measured over decades, not years, he said. So it’s impossible to make conclusions about an incredibly warm spring last year or a cool one this year.

“You can’t attribute it to climate change,” Notaro said. “That was part of natural variability.”

Others point to recent extreme weather and increasing average temperatures as a sure sign the climate in La Crosse is changing.

The average temperature in the city in 1870s, shortly after official record keeping began, was 46.3 degrees. It’s been 49 in the 2010s — and 47 degrees or higher in 13 of the past 15 years.

Models averaged by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts expect the La Crosse area to experience weather typical of Muscatine, Iowa — 220 miles to the south — by about 2050.

By 2081, it’ll feel like Wichita, Kan.

Such projections demand immediate action, says Joel Charles, a member of the political activist group Citizens Climate Lobby.

“It’s already harming human health. Those impacts are significant, and they’re only going to get worse the longer we wait,” said Charles, a student in Madison who plans to settle in the Coulee Region.

“Climate change is very likely to go past the tipping point and become irreversible,” over the next 5-10 years, he said.

The politics of weather

Seventeen meteorologists work at the National Weather Service’s La Crosse office. And you’ll hear a wide variety of climate opinions among them, said Glenn Lussky, the office’s lead meteorologist.

His opinions represent his personal views as a scientist, not the weather service, he said.

He believes humans have caused climate change. But he’s not too worried about it; he thinks that natural processes could account for a majority of changes. And he isn’t sold on models that show the impacts of global warming contributing to further temperature increases.

For him, the debate over climate change resembles the past two springs: two extremes.

“It’s a shame that people and ideas are pigeonholed into classifications of alarmism or science deniers,” Lussky said. “I don’t know that I’ve seen any two people that would be classified by some as skeptics that would agree with each other.“

Calling the debate on climate change closed is the antithesis of science, Lussky said. And combining science with politics isn’t always a great mix.

“If you’re going to stay true to the science, becoming an advocate… it takes away from that,” he said.

Lussky earned his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, doing research for the Center for Climatic Research that Notaro helps guide. Yet, he disagrees with some of its conclusions.

“There’s so much we don’t know,” he said.

That 2011 tornado in La Crosse? It was the first since 1966, but there were two in that decade alone. Lussky cited data showing that tornados aren’t increasing in severity, and increases in reported twisters are tied to better detection and reporting.

Personal bias can also play a role, said Lussky, including himself in that category. And data analysis isn’t always a cut and dry process.

“That’s probably where good scientists on both sides of the debate will differ — what they consider to be sound methods.”

(58) comments

Balancr

Sorry Mike - referring to your Mt. St. Helen's post - truly a huge atmospheric event - for a couple weeks - I agree. I don't think though, it compares to multi million cars, emitting exhaust over the span of 50 years. And that's just vehicles. My guess is St. Helens is minor in comparison. Seems to me this would be rather lopsided - but I could be wrong:

Gas emissions for all cars since say 1963 - versus Mt. St.Helens eruption in terms of environmental impact. Anyone know the answer?

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

http://prezi.com/lxlaohzuc2wu/air-pollution-chapter-9/

"Worldwide , the natural sources produce about 14 times as much particulates as are produced from manmade sources. Although we tend to focus on man made pollutants as sources of our atmosphere problems, the fairly recent eruption of Mount. St. Helena in Washington State ,El Chichon in Mexico and Mount Pintatubo in the Phillipine have been dramatic reminders that nature, on occasion, can out do by many orders of magnitude."

I accept your apology, Balancr

DCampbell

The major reason that the number of intense weather events has been increasing is due to the major changes in sea water temperatures, thereby making the overlying atmosphere very unstable (relative to recent years). Warming of the atmosphere is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

A strong movement to decrease these gases (largely industrial) will slow the warming, but not eliminate it completely. The process is already too far advanced for a rapid decline. What we can do is legislate a fossil-fuel carbon tax, with the dividends paid to the citizens, so that renewable energies can be developed vigorously. This is the theme of the Citizens Climate Lobby.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

DCampbell:

I believe you are sincere in this set of beliefs. There are those of us that have seen what our government does with taxes, and the concept of a dividend to citizens for the vigorous development of renewable energies is painfully naïve. For once I am speechless.

Jeremy F

Hammer- "It seems like only yesterday the Flat Earth Society held widespread agreement in their rather bizarre assessment of the earth. They were undone by a satellite photo. "

Actually, there is still a flat earth society. Like you, they believe any evidence that contradicts their position, ie satellite photos, etc- are all doctored to perpetuate the myth of a round earth. like all conspiracy theories, they are impossible to debunk. Any evidence that contradicts is doctored by the conspirators, and any lack of evidence on their part is merely more evidence of the vastness of the coverup.

95% of climatologists agree that climate change is real, and that humans are a significant cause. These are guys who know and understand the science and variables, not an armchair "scientist" like yourself. I'll trust the experts on this one.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

Jeremy F:

Like a true pseudointellectual, you are teeing off from your feel-good position and completely ignoring the basis of my point. Once again: we do affect our environment, the climate is changing, and we need to amend our ways. No argument from me on this mundane fact. My pet peeve is the exploitation of alleged science for the sake of crony capitalism. I am sick and tired of this constant beat-down under the cloak of environmentalism. Carbon credits are the latest stench emanating from the unholy union of "science" and politics to prosper a select few. You trust your sources, I'll trust mine.

WSpencer

The liberals had to change global warming to "Climate Change" so that no matter what happens their agenda is in order. There are many studies out presently and have been for twenty or so years the the world is actually heading into a "gloval cooling" factor.


Don't be a sucker ..."global warming" is a scheme to bring about "carbon credits" to enrich the elite at your expense. The truth came out during "Climategate".

Politicians with a totalitarian bent saw the regulation of carbon as a potent tool for generating massive new tax revenues and for redistributing the world's wealth, while at the same time, justifying the expansion of regulatory control over businesses and the personal activities of all citizens. Consequently, a symbiotic relationship was established between the politicians who handsomely funded the research, and the climate scientists, who fabricated a useful justification for government intervention.

People well connected to the government, such as Al Gore, saw an opportunity to make a financial killing by manipulating the environmental legislation in a favorable way. Gore and others invested heavily in carbon trading schemes which would generate millions in profits once the pending cap-and-trade laws were passed. These people then engaged in their own propaganda campaigns in order to influence a favorable outcome. Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth was one notable example.


LINK: http://go-galt.org/climategate.html

Climategate Overview:

Current global temperature data was being actively manipulated in order to conceal real-world temperature declines that did not support the computerized climate models that were being used to predict runaway global warming. Additionally, historical data showing that during the Medieval Warm Period (900-1300 AD), the earth had been warmer than what was seen today, thereby shattering any causal connection between man made CO2 and temperature rise.

For quite some time, as is a normal part of any scientific peer-review process, independent scientists and organizations had been requesting the release of the raw temperature data used by the CRU in determining its results. Nevertheless, the CRU had continually refused to make their data available. (And now we understand why!) Additional requests for the data were made under the UK's Freedom of Information laws, and the scientists at the CRU are seen discussing how to circumvent these laws, including destroying correspondence and the temperature data itself, rather than allow it to be seen by others.

A review of the source code for the computerized models used to predict the significant global temperature gains being reported, showed that much of it was completely unintelligible to the programmers charged with maintain it, and in some cases, these programs could not be made to reproduce similar results previously obtained by others using the same code base and data sets. This code was in a constant state of manipulation in order to produce predetermined results.

The correspondence shows a small group of scientists frequently discussing ways to subvert the normal scientific peer-review process. This included having climate papers only be "reviewed" by one another, or by people already fully committed to the belief in AGW, stopping publication of any papers that were skeptical of AGW, and working to remove editors from scientific journals that were willing to publish any dissenting opinions.

LINK: http://go-galt.org/climategate.html

Balancr

And I was exaggerating about the delusion. But it still has merit. The definition is "a belief that is held, despite strong evidence to the contrary." In this case - the evidence certainly exists, yet your committment to your viewpoint that opposed the evidence persists. If you pointed out compelling evidence to the contrary, I'd have to change my viewpoint. But your adherence to your view opposite the evidence makes me think it goes against your ideology - (you're obviously quite intelligent). Perhaps my approach fueled your responses though.

Do you even think that the evidence might be true? I think it is, but I'm unsure about the cause. Perhaps the evidence is less strong in tagging cause to fossil fuel emissions - idk. I don't do that research.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

As the Captain of Redundancy, I will simply point again to the red herring of the "hole in the ozone" as a case in point. Since it affected me directly, I was not amused with the fraudulent use of "science' to achieve the corporate interests of DuPont. There is no question we have bad habits that need to change, but mysteriously these changes appear to be directed to the wallets of a select group of recipients. I grieve that Nikola Tesla was prepared to distribute free energy to every man woman and child on the planet and was utterly ruined by J.P Morgan when he discovered Tesla's intent. There are bad guys still, and some of them cloak themselves in "green". Carbon credits are a stench in my nostrils, and certainly should be in yours.

Having said that, thank you for a temporary respite from mental numbness. You do have a brain, and you use it well.

TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls

Mike Hammer

Mt St Helen's big recent eruption happened 20 years after the start of the CO2 measurements I cited. CO2 levels were increasing in the 20 years prior to Mt St Helen's and continued a similar pattern of growth after. Scientists cite the release of CO2 by human activities is 100s of times greater than that from volcanic activity.

You should follow your advice about not just looking at one thing. Your post is a perfect example of this.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

Ahhh, and if I had referred to carbon emissions you would have been correct. Instead, I referred to particulates. The far more serious issue of sulfur dioxide (acid rain) is devastating the affected areas to this day. The obsession with carbon is a bad case of selective science. Why not address the other trash that belched from the volcano and its current effect on the local environment? If you are going to refer to my post, you should at the very least read it.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1292287/posts

Balancr

That's fine Mike. You'll get a reaction from me when you have a theory that has no evidence. Especially when it's questions the validity of science, without evidence. It has nothing to do with posturing, or bias. It's the scientific method - global warming is strongly supported. Your theory isn't. Naturally you question the validity of science - and I say show me your data. Simple facts.

Balancr

We should all take up Hammer science. We just need a theory with no verifiable support.

Balancr

In mental health channels - your belief system is referred to as a self reflecting delusional system. But of course we're the problem in your unfounded conspiracy system, right? We Ph.D.'s are the low information people/ voters - of course that's right. Oh yes - I'm caught up in bed with political corruption!! Who's paying me again? That must be something else that I don't know - that of course you do, as a non-researcher.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

Flight to arrogance....hmmmm, I smell fear. Your psychologizing is amateurish at best, and probably not the subject of your Ph.D. One day you might consider addressing my actual point and dial down the posturing. No one is reading this except other humans, and we are all bozos on this bus.

Balancr

You have no homework. You have a conspiracy theory that has no basis in objective reality. How nice for you!

Balancr

Mike - I don't see this as an either or argument like you think that I do - and like you seem to. The evidence in support of global warming is simply insurmountable.

Please list your reliable sources that outline how science has been manipulated - oh enlightened one. Help us sheep see the light too.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

I'm not going to do your homework for you. Your brain-pan is your assignment, not mine. However, you might want to investigate the possibility of manipulated data, given that it is the subject of very credible expose:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100119087/uh-oh-global-warming-loons-here-comes-climategate-ii/

Enlightenment is a process, not an event. It starts with submitting any hypothesis to the stink test. The ongoing political corruption associated with this "science" stinks to high heavens . If you can't see it, I can't help you.

Balancr

Lol - Mike. The major problem here is one of ignorance. In your story - you're the believer in the flat earth and you don't even see it

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

I am happy I amuse you , Balancr. Interesting name you have chosen, considering your point of view is absent of reasonable thought. Although it does take effort to separate oneself from the unwashed herd, with a little effort you will get the hang of it and perhaps resemble your nickname more closely. Meanwhile. my original point is the manipulation of "science" for the sake of crony capitalism, which remains unaddressed by you and your posse' of true believers.

Balancr

Jeff. Scientists look at more than a sequential selection of Lacrosse. They've looked at sequential trends throughout the world - for much longer periods of time than you're discussing. They're have also been many more than just one person performing such around the world observations - and the vast majority of those observations have been highly correlated. Random variance does not account for the findings (because that is assessed as well).

Monteee
Monteee

Let's not forget the ice core samples taken from glaciers and other ice sheets. The samples can be used to determine global temperatures and ocean levels going back hundreds of thousands of years.

jeffreyboyne

If you look at the daily temperature records since 2000 (these temperature records date back to 1872), La Crosse has set 66 record high temperatures and just 9 record low temperatures. Even if you took out last year, it would still be 50 record highs to 8 record lows. Even in a warming climate, the climate models still show that there will be cold periods (i.e. this spring). That is just part of the naturalc climate variability. However the danger is some climate scientists are just using simple extrapolation to say what it is going to be like 30 to 50 years in the future. This just does not work. There has been no signs that tornado numbers are increasing. This is a result of changes in how they are reported and increased population. As far as flooding, we are going to have more and more issues as we leave less green space in our cities. This just increases the runoff. In addition, sewer systems were designed from 1940s & 50s rainfall climatology which was a dry period.

thetruthisntoutthere

All I gotta say is Pfizer's stock has soared this year so far, up 1/3 total value....

bet the hospitals are getting a lot of easy business as well: seasonal depression= more hospital visits and prescription writing, counselor visits, etc...which aren't physically demanding services to provide.

I would be willing to bet there have been a lot more self-inflicted injuries this year as well-

Yojimbo
Yojimbo

Wow, the level of discussion here never ceases to amaze me!

Seriously Now
Seriously Now

"Mike Hammer" is hard pressed to take global warming as a fact, others say "In the last 20 years, there have been 13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles. Only 24 rejected global warming." So, everybody is marching out of step except you and Rush...

deezus
deezus

There is no way to accurately measure human influence on the climate without having an exact duplicate of the earth without humans inhabiting it to observe as a control group. Without having a control group, it is just observational speculation. Personally I am not convinced that scientists have discovered all of the variables that determine the mechanics of our climate. I don't think we will have a sufficient understanding of our climate for centuries, if ever. The last thing we need are scientists attempting to manipulate the climate, as it will likely lead us to being worse off than we already are due to the unintended consequences of their actions.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

Seriously now:

"Others" has been doing a lot of theorizing and is often quoted. I hope you feel comfortable in the thundering herd of many. Unfortunately, when it comes to analytical thought there is almost never any safety in numbers. It seems like only yesterday the Flat Earth Society held widespread agreement in their rather bizarre assessment of the earth. They were undone by a satellite photo. I wonder what the Waterloo of the Global Warmers will be?

Angus

Carbon levels have gone up 82 parts per million in the last 55 years. This is the truth. Thats all there is to this. Its not crazy democrats,its finely calibrated equipment. Now for the simple. A long time ago before even your Grandma and Grandpappy were born. Volcanos spewed carbon into the atmospher. The high levels of carbon caused temperatures to rise. This carbon was absorbed and turned into fossil fuels. Now we are burning these fossil fuels and re-releasing them. This may not mean it will be warm today, but the global climate will rise. I understand there are natural warming and cooling trends. But this doesnt help during a natural warming trend and that is the concern. This isnt an Al Gore hoax. This is simple 9th grade science.

deezus
deezus

If humans are speeding up climate change, what do you intend we do about it? Building wind turbines and solar cells have no chance of providing the volume of energy we need. Environazis have made it nearly impossible to build new nuclear plants which is the only energy generation path that will come close to sustaining our energy needs. Environmentalists are their own worst enemy and are the reason we are in this mess.

Dick Smith

Glenn Lusky's comment that there's a scientific "debate" about human-caused global warming is absurd.

If there were a DEBATE among climate scientists, you'd expect to see it peer-reviewed scientific journals--the gold standard for science. Look at the numbers--and ask yourself if medical doctors had this agreement about the cause of a dangerous disease, would we say it's "debateable."

In the last 20 years, there have been 13,950 peer-reviewed climate articles. Only 24 rejected global warming. It's even more dramatic counting the number of individual climate scientists. There were 34,000 individual authors on those supporting human-caused global warming--and only 35 authors (again, in the last 20 years!!) rejecting that humans have caused it.

Also, 34 national academies of science have said global warming is caused by humans. Not one disagrees.

I doubt Glenn Lusky has written a peer-reviewed article on climate change. Yet, the Tribune treats him like an expert. How sad

Balancr

Yeah - Pulitzer Prize winner. What does he know. We should listen to you instead David

57

Its been hotter in Lax over the last 30 years

random annoying bozo
random annoying bozo

and if 'climate change' is really a man made phenomena, it's not fossil fuel that is the culprit, it's medicine and health care.

the medical sciences are causing people to live longer lives....more people = more use of 'stuff'.
so the only way, IF 'climate change' is the doings of man, to control climate would be a planned genocide of what Ted Turner so eloquently called them, the 'useless eaters' of the planet.

Balancr

Perhaps we should listen to conservatives about the existence of global warming - rather than scientists. After all, conservatives have no vested interest in the subject. Let's lay the fate of the world on a group of people trying to turn "fact" into "theory" because it serves their special interests. That's a good plan.

FUBAR

Global Warming is showing it's ugly head today?

random annoying bozo
random annoying bozo

the 'climate' is doing what it always has been doing, 'changing'.

throughout the history of the planet there have been numerous ice ages, to have more than just one age, guess what, it has to get warmer between them.

there is daily 'climate change', the sun comes up, it gets warmer, the sun sets, it gets cooler.
there is seasonal 'climate change', it's warmer in the northern hemisphere in the summer, and cooler in the winter...and vice versa in the southern hemisphere.
the earth has a slight wobble and the 'climate changes' over the eons in long cyclical patterns.

so of course there is 'climate change', to be arrogant enough to think that man can change what nature and climate have been doing for billions of years is a folly of the absurd.

government has 3 main of ways to garner more money from citizens pockets and reduce the liberties of its citizens... 'health and safety, the 'environment', and for the simple minded, 'fairness'.... 'climate change' falls under 'the environment'.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

Does the La Crosse Tribune demonstrate their obvious editorial bias with bogus headlines?

TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

Link to site with the data

TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls

NOAA has been measuring CO2 level at a facility in Hawaii since 1959. The annual mean measured parts per million (PPM) has grown continuously since the this began from just over 300 PPM to almost 400 PPM. The earth cannot be the same with this change.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

Teapartieswhaterever:

Errr, can you say Mount St. Helen? That certainly released more particulate than man has since our inception on the planet. If you are going to use science, use all of it; not selective elements that support your mentality.

ryeguy

Mt. St. Helens 1980 erution increased SO2 and particulates but had no effect on CO2 levels. see http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo_anngr.pdf

ryeguy

All of science does only one thing: build models (theories) that attempt to explain the natural world. The models are not the world. The expanding universe is a model. Atomic theory is a model. Quantum theory, relativivey, geology, DNA, RNA, proteins - all models, not the thing itself. We decide that a model is good if it allows us to predict the results of things not yet seen or tried. Climate models are also like that. The question is not whether they are politically motivated or liberal or conservative. The question is whether they are sufficiently good models to allow us to predict outcomes. I think most climate scientists would say that, no, they are not perfect but, yes they are pretty good. The earth is warming and doing so dramatically faster as the decades unfold - Greenland, Antarctica, mountainglaciers in Asia, Europe, Alaska, the Andes are all disappearing, taking their fresh water to the sea. The models are not perfect, but they show us the truth about what is to come.

RINO Cowboy
RINO Cowboy

"Is our extreme weather linked to climate change?" Nah, sunspots and solar flares. God's will.

Seriously Now
Seriously Now

You can certainly tell who listens to that drugged-up phony Rush versus most of the scientists in the world. However, the fact that there is global warming does not necessarily mean that our specific winter is caused by it. Life is not a disaster movie, it's more a slow-motion train wreck.

Mike Hammer
Mike Hammer

Seriously now:

I am hard-pressed to take anyone seriously that accepts "global warming" as fact. Perhaps you remember the catastrophe of the hole in the ozone layer allegedly caused by chlorofluorohydrocarbons? It turns out DuPont had expiring Freon patents and merely needed to market a new "greener" refrigerant. I draw the line when crony capitalism & science crawl into bed with one another....like, say, carbon exchanges based on suspect science. By all means, smoke that crack pipe and defend this madness to the end.

Buggs Raplin

Global warming ended in 1998. Temperatures on a world-wide basis were warmer from the 9th-13th centuries than they are today. Al Gore is a fraudulent documentary maker. The earth has warm periods, then colder periods, then warm periods..and so on and so on...more than likely related to activity of the sun.

David Lee
David Lee

Now your getting your facts from a two bit british blog? Good grief, you need serious help.

Buggs Raplin

David, please end all your comments appropriately with a Baa Baa; thank you.

David Lee
David Lee

your posting was virtually identical to the nonsense they posted. You did add the gore comment though. That's what frauds do you know.

Monteee
Monteee

>>>Global warming ended in 1998.<<

And left is right and up is down and the Anunnaki created humans....LOL...!!

Keith Woodward

This is BS. The net effect of adding more heat to our atmosphere is subtle and predictable. We should see storms, maybe a bit bigger, or more tornados, more air movement, more precipitation. This is what we see. There is plenty of evidence to support this. I have seen the changes myself, in my own life time of living on the Sonoran desert.

Your article does a disservice to your readers, and to society when you minimize this threat.

David Lee
David Lee

":A $75,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant is paying a contractor to develop a plan for more green space across a major swath of the South Side." So exactly where? We have no land for development so were going to level what little taxable property we have for this?

Balancr

Of course not. Oil companies should do whatever they want- and we should continue our national dependence on fossil fuels. I say - let's keep our heads in the sand for ten more years, see what happens

springy

This is what I think this headline REALLY should say: 'Is our extreme headline linked to declining newspaper readership change?'

deezus
deezus

We're never going to see consistent weather from year to year. That doesn't happen.

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