With a solemn certainty, a coworker just repeated the mainstream mantra that man-made CO2 has made climate more extreme in the last 10-20 years—hence the extreme flood levels in American rivers. This reminded me of a very similar assertion by a friend from the Ohio River valley.
To be a scientific theory, it must be falsifiable, and thus one test is sufficient to falsify any scientific theory. (Of course it must be transparent, repeatable, etc.) In this case, we are testing the theory that man-made CO2 is causing higher flood crests in American rivers.
We will only look at major watersheds because such well known data would be hard to revise and cover up; whereas, the data for smaller rivers could be revised and it would be hard for the handful who knew the truth to convince others about what had happened. We will thus look at the flood crest data from the Ohio River and we will also look at the data from the Mississippi River at New Orleans. The Mississippi watershed includes about one third of the United States.
Afterwards, we will also look at what the results say about the larger theory, which claims that anthropogenic CO2 is driving global climate change, which is increasing the frequency and severity of every kind of extreme weather—including every kind of flood. That is way too much to keep repeating, so we will refer to this theory in various short-hand ways such as: "extreme climate change".
We have flood crest measurements going back to 1858, and unlike temperature records, such data is hard to revise again and again to create an ever more upward trend, so we don't have to be as concerned about tampering when using flood crest data. If there has been fudging of flood crest data, then it seems likely to have only been for data from the last ten years and only for smaller rivers, but let's trust all the data for these two rivers, so that we can give extreme climate theory a fighting chance.
For simplicity, let's pick a level that is a round number and is below about 20 of the highest flood crests. For the Ohio River, that number is 60 feet above flood stage because since 1883, 23 of the highest flood crests were at least 60 feet above flood stage. Now that we are adding the Mississippi river to the original article, we will use the 23 highest flood crests to be consistent.
The most recent such crest was in 2018 at 60.53 inches above flood stage. When one considers how numbers that are both recent and extreme are automatically suspect given the extreme politicization of climate issues, and how this particular number (60.53) would only have to have been fudged less than an inch (0.1%) to push it over the 60 foot mark, one would be inclined to throw it out. However, we will keep it for now because we want to determine if extreme flood crests in American rivers is a theory that can be falsified after giving it every possible benefit of the doubt—so that stubborn believers will find it much harder to quibble.
We need to determine a point after which the man-made contributions to atmospheric CO2 should be having a significant effect on climate. In other words, we must determine when to expect the beginning of extreme climate change. In this test, we must determine a date after which the theory of anthropogenic climate change mandates that a majority of extreme flood crests will have occurred. Given the mainstream narrative, we should expect 90% of extreme flood crests to have occurred after this date, but let's just demand over 50% to give extreme climate change a fighting chance.
We will ignore the fact that levies on the sides of rivers don't let the rivers spread out and soak into the land as much as before, which must therefore be increasing flood crests today. Likewise, we will ignore that pavement causes rain to run off instead of soaking into the land where it fell, thus contributing to higher flood crests today.
To determine the theoretical beginning of extreme climate change, we must consider that natural levels of CO2 are 300ppm and below; whereas, levels today are over 400ppm, and let's just trust that 400ppm is unnaturally high in order to give extreme climate change a fighting chance. We should factor in how climate scientists say that atmospheric CO2 has an ongoing effect for about 100 years, so after 20 years, an increase in CO2 would have only exerted 20% of its full effect.
Therefore, 320ppm seems like a good point at which the effects of increased CO2 might occasionally become noticeable in the form of extreme climate. That should be roughly the earliest possible beginning of extreme climate, and of course, each decade should be exponentially more severe than the previous, so climate today should be far more extreme than before 320ppm according to mainstream theory.
Al Gore published "An Inconvenient Truth" in 2006, and Hurricane Katrina was in 2005, and "The Coming Age of Superstorms" was published in 2005, so the most ardent believers in extreme climate change thought it was just barely beginning in 2005. However, CO2 was already 380ppm in 2005, so we are going to give a big advantage to extreme climate theory change and go back over 50 years to 320ppm, which was 1965.
With all these advantages we have given to the theory of recent extreme climate change, —if— a majority of flood crests over 60 feet above flood stage happened before 1965, or if the number of floods has been consistent but the crests were higher before 1965, then we will have soundly falsified the claim that flood crests in American rivers have increased because of anthropogenic climate change.
Looking at the data, we see that not only did a majority of flood crests over 60 feet above flood stage happen before 1965, but over 90% happened before 1965—and the highest crests were before 1965! This is not just a solid falsification of anthropogenic CO2 induced climate change causing higher flood crests in the Ohio River river, but it is a falsification of any cause of higher flood crests in the Ohio River—because the flood crests are not higher.
Looking at the data for the Mississippi River, it is the exact same pattern. Only two crests (8.7%) were after 1965, and instead of being 1997 and 2018, they were back in 1973 and 1975 when CO2 was significantly lower, and they wer among the six lowest crests.
Flood crests in American rivers today are are not extreme. We just proved it.
If these numbers become an embarrassment, I predict they will be revised.
Have we falsified extreme climate change itself? Our falsification of the theory that extreme climate change has caused higher flood crests does indeed cast significant doubt on extreme climate change itself, but that only means the results demand further investigation—even if proponents of extreme climate change theory dropped their claim that flooding is one of the kinds of extreme climate change.
Believers insist that every kind of weather is now more extreme globally, so falsifying that claim for one kind of extreme weather is not sufficient to falsify the larger theory. For example, if there were compelling evidence that every other kind of weather had become more extreme globally, that would still be very important.
We must also consider my theory that upstream dams may have reduced the amount of water that can rapidly reach the river, which could theoretically counterbalance all of the advantages we granted to extreme climate change. Could such an effect be masking the effects of climate change? Such a theory is testable, but who could be trusted to test it?
A concrete example of the problem of trust is how we already know that the mainstream is misinforming people like my coworker and my other friend in this case. Another concrete example of how the entire establishment conspired to misinform us is known as Climategate. That's why everyone suddenly stopped using the formerly ubiquitous hockey stick chart, which was proven to be based on fudged data and a fudged algorithm. Email leaks proved the entire establishment conspired to cover that up.
Consider this hypothetical example: Maybe dams are letting out more water than they used to, and maybe operators think it is done to protect the aging dam's structural integrity, when in fact its true purpose may be to strengthen the theory of extreme climate change, and regardless of intent, how big is the effect anyway? Such complexities make it impossible for skeptics to believe those having a conflict of interest, and the entire establishment and most alternative sources have a conflict of interest.
We can't trust most alternative sources for multiple reasons. For example, the majority aren't really alternative. Even the ones who seem to be clearly alternative, like Alex Jones, have turned out to be controlled opposition. Such a corrupt environment requires consumers of information to be unusually diligent and skeptical, and go wherever the facts take them. So, given how only about 5% are sufficiently diligent and skeptical, and go wherever the facts take them, the establishment wins.
Of course, just because the establishment is corrupt is not a proof that everything they say is wrong, and just because the establishment has low standards is never a reason to be unscientific ourselves.
A critical question is, given such simple compelling data, why would anyone have ever started believing that flood crests have been higher since 1965? Why are we now in a position of having to point out there was no reason for the establishment to believe in the first place—let alone believe so strongly?
One might wonder whether the Mississippi River data is some kind of fluke—perhaps a regional phenomenon, but all of the similarly straightforward and trustworthy results I have seen (i.e. forest fires, tornadoes, daily highs, etc.) show the same patterns and thus strongly imply that extreme climate change is false. The real question then is how a few wrong individuals who were promoting such easily refuted theories were able to convert the entire establishment. That seems impossible doesn't it? Clearly, those few individuals had a lot of help from powerful people, and clearly the establishment is corrupt.
23 highest flood crests (over 60) feet for Ohio River (source: the National Weather Service):
- 80.00 ft on 01/26/1937
- 71.10 ft on 02/14/1884
- 69.90 ft on 04/01/1913
- 69.20 ft on 03/07/1945
- 66.30 ft on 02/15/1883
- 66.20 ft on 03/11/1964
- 65.20 ft on 01/21/1907
- 64.80 ft on 04/18/1948
- 64.70 ft on 03/05/1997
- 63.60 ft on 03/21/1933
- 60.53 ft on 02/26/2018
- 62.20 ft on 01/14/1913
- 62.10 ft on 03/18/1907
- 61.80 ft on 02/12/1918
- 61.40 ft on 03/29/1898
- 61.32 ft on 03/03/1962
- 61.27 ft on 03/01/1962
- 61.20 ft on 02/01/1918
- 61.20 ft on 02/26/1897
- 61.00 ft on 03/10/1955
- 60.80 ft on 01/04/1943
- 60.60 ft on 03/28/1936
- 60.04 ft on 04/24/1940
23 highest flood crests for Mississippi River (source: the National Weather Service):
- 21.27 ft on 04/25/1922
- 21.05 ft on 05/11/1912
- 21.00 ft on 04/25/1927
- 20.50 ft on 05/18/1927
- 20.05 ft on 03/03/1916
- 19.99 ft on 06/08/1929
- 19.98 ft on 02/10/1950
- 19.78 ft on 05/01/1945
- 19.42 ft on 03/29/1903
- 19.38 ft on 05/21/1944
- 19.29 ft on 02/28/1937
- 19.28 ft on 05/08/1913
- 19.17 ft on 05/13/1897
- 19.17 ft on 03/05/1932
- 19.15 ft on 05/18/1920
- 18.95 ft on 06/18/1908
- 18.60 ft on 02/16/1907
- 18.47 ft on 04/07/1973
- 18.35 ft on 02/24/1949
- 18.17 ft on 06/12/1943
- 18.06 ft on 04/15/1923
- 17.99 ft on 04/14/1975
- 17.46 ft on 06/15/1933
Trusted Independent Investigators:
- Tony Heller (world-class climate change debunking)
- Suspicious Observers (space weather, white papers, and related topics)
- James Corbett (history, current events, conspiracy)