Thursday, June 30, 2011

Climate Change and extreme weather

(A hat tip to Jay Gulledge who on the Energy Collective discussed recent information sources on AGW and extreme weather.)

Gulledge is the co-author of a Pew Center white paper Extreme Weather and Climate Change
Understanding the Link, Managing the Risk
. In addition John Carey has posted a 3 part series on the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events:
Storm Warnings: Extreme Weather Is a Product of Climate Change
Global Warming and the Science of Extreme Weather
Our Extreme Future: Predicting and Coping with the Effects of a Changing ClimateExtreme weather is and probably will be a topic of growing importance in the climate debate. In the Pew Center White Paper Daniel G. Huber and Jay Gulledge state that in 2010,
874 weather and climate-related disasters resulted in 68,000 deaths and $99 billion in damages worldwide.
It is going to grow increasingly difficult for climate change skeptics to deny the reality of climate change with six feet of flood waters in their garage, or while watching their house burn during a droughts driven wildfire.


Duncan M said...

Munich Re has been claiming this based on confidential data for years. Every published study says there's no clear link, because the data uniformly says there has been a downward trend in extreme weather events worldwide over the past 30 or 40 years while temperatures have been rising.

Except for this year, incidence of strong tornadoes has been declining for decades. That's what you'd expect if the polar regions are heating faster than the temperate and tropical regions.

Hurricane and monsoon numbers and strength have been declining for decades - which, by the way, is what the models predict. Activists like Trenberth fight hard not to admit it, but to the extent you accept the models as skillful at hurricane trend prediction, the models overwhelmingly predict fewer hurricanes.

Opportunistic "studies" like this make it seem like global warming alarmists aren't really serious about it being a problem. The refusal of most of them to consider nuclear power is another indication that many aren't really serious about global warming being a problem.

We can hope they're right, but I think it would be prudent to replace our fossil fuels with nuclear power just in case...

gallopingcamel said...

Given that I look to LFTRs to deliver affordable power to the world why don't I take this site seriously?

Here's a clue. Charles Barton uncritically parrots rubbish from sources like the Pew "Think Tank' which is on the wrong side of every issue. Something like the ACLU but worse.

People who say global warming causes the weather to become more extreme understand nothing about history or physics.

Such people probably don't read books so I recommend the History Channel's excellent video:
"Little Ice Age, Big Chill".

Extreme weather is driven by temperature differentials. One of the benefits of the rising temperatures since the LIA has been reduced temperature gradients from the poles to the equator and therefore a greatly reduced incidence of extreme weather events.

Charles Barton said...

@Duncan M. The insurance industry reports that the years 2008 to 2010 were the worst in its history for thunderstorm related damage claims.

@ gallopingcamel The fact that a quote comes from Pew does not prove it is wrong. Climate scientists have long predicted that global warming would be produce greater variation in rain fall with greater droughts and heavy rain events. Facts seem to bare out these predictions, and no doubt as the evidence is evaluated, we will understand things bettwer.

Charles Barton said...

I am planning to write a post on how Anthropogenic climate change can be measured by insurance claims.

charlesH said...


You might want to read up on climate and extreme weather before you get too far out on a limb.

"The biggest question, though, remains the extent to which climate change is the driver of hurricanes, cyclones and flooding that have hit the world with apparently increased ferocity and regularity in recent years.

It is still proving extremely difficult for scientists to extract a clear sign of the effects of climate change from the normal long-term historic cycles of weather and climate activity. That is despite simple logic saying that a warmer climate should result in more powerful storms because of a greater water content in the atmosphere.

Axel Lehmann, chief risk officer at Zurich Financial Services, says it is necessary to take a long-term perspective – of 200 or even 1,000 years.

“In terms of severity and frequency, is this type of event happening in a more systematic way? We do not yet have an answer on that,” he says.

“But on a systematic basis we do know that a growing population puts pressure on the earth and its resources.”

[charlesH comment]
Now this part is actually false as has been pointed out by previous comments above. Simple AGW theory actually predicts less storm intensity due to smaller temperature differentials. The most severe storms are in the mid latitudes where temp differentials are greatest not in the tropics where humidity is greatest.

"That is despite simple logic saying that a warmer climate should result in more powerful storms because of a greater water content in the atmosphere."

Charles Barton said...

Charles, I have been reading up. Insurance companies are quite concerned about the effects of climate change on weather events that generate insurance claims. Weather related insurance claims are up 500% since the 1980's.

gallopingcamel said...

Charles Barton,

Hitching your wagon to the failed engine of CAGW is a losing tactic.

The ignorant may trust the IPCC, the UEA and the Hockey Team but folks with some scientific training are much less likely to do so.

I respect what you are doing and I want you to be successful so this advice is intended to be constructive. I have the same problem with "Brave New Climate" so now I will stop my complaining at least until you post that insurance claim fluff piece.

Charles Barton said...

gallopingcamel It is my policy to state my position on climate matters, but I stopped debating in 2007 because I thought there was no real point too it. You are trying to convince me that you are on the side of science, while you also use terms like
The failed engine of CAGW
The ignorant can trust the IPCC

As for SA reader surveys, they are relatively easy to fix.

charlesH said...


If you read Roger Piekle's blog you will learn that insurance claims are up due to more building in disaster prone areas not more disasters.

Peikle is an expert on the subject and an agw "warmer".

Charles Barton said...

Charles H, Roger Piekle is not an insurance expert, and I am reading what insurance claims experts are saying. Claims experts in Europe, Canada are all saying the same thing.

Charles Barton said...

charlesH, there was a reason why I referred to rain event and floods, and did not use the words hurricanes and Cyclones. Piekle writes about hurricanes and Cyclones, while my discussion centers on rain event and floods.


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