Linking storms to climate change a ‘distraction’, say experts

From the University of Manchester,  some sanity on extreme weather at last, even though they are still fully engaged in GHG reduction issues.

Linking storms to climate change a ‘distraction’, say experts

Connecting extreme weather to climate change distracts from the need to protect society from high-impact weather events which will continue to happen irrespective of human-induced climate change, say experts.

Writing in the journal Weather, Climate and Society, the University of Manchester researchers argue that cutting greenhouse gas emissions, while crucial to reducing humanity’s longer-term impact on the planet, will not eliminate violent storms, tornadoes or flooding and the damage they cause.

The authors suggest that developing greater resilience to extreme weather events must be given greater priority if the socioeconomic impact of storms, like those that have ravaged Britain this winter, is to be reduced.

Professor David Schultz, one of the authors of the guest editorial, said: “One of the long-term effects of climate change is often predicted to be an increase in the intensity and frequency of many high-impact weather events, so reducing greenhouse gas emissions is often seen to be the response to the problem.

“Reducing humanity’s impact on our planet should be pursued as a matter of urgency, but more emphasis must also be placed on being resilient to individual weather events, as this year’s storms in Britain have so devastatingly shown.”

In the past, say the authors, society responded to weather disasters with calls for greater resilience, but public awareness of manmade climate change has given climate timescales (decades and centuries) far greater importance than weather timescales (days and years).

Schultz, a professor of synoptic meteorology, and co-author Dr Vladimir Janković, a science historian specialising in weather and climate, say the short-term, large variability from year to year in high-impact weather makes it difficult, if not impossible, to draw conclusions about the correlation to longer-term climate change.

They argue that while large public investments in dams and flood defences, for example, must account for the possibilities of how weather might change in the future, this should not prevent short-term thinking to address more immediate vulnerability to inevitable high-impact weather events.

“Avoiding construction in floodplains, implementing strong building codes, and increasing preparedness can make society more resilient to extreme weather events,” said Dr Janković. “But compounding the problem is that finding money for recovery is easier than spending on prevention, even if the costs of recovery are much higher.”

This bias, say the authors, has a tendency to diminish the political dedication for preventative measures against extreme weather, regardless of whether they are caused or intensified by manmade influences. Yet, steps taken to protect society from the weather can protect the planet as well, they argue.

Dr Janković said: “Improving forecasting, increasing preparedness or building better infrastructure can increase resilience and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. For example, greening neighbourhoods or painting roofs lighter colours will both reduce the urban heat-island effect and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions through reduced air-conditioning costs, while making cities more resistant to storm damage would reduce emissions generated from rebuilding devastated areas.”

Professor Schultz added: “Linking high-impact weather events with climate change can be distracting; perpetuating the idea that reducing greenhouse gases would be enough to reduce increasingly vulnerable world populations, in our view, only confuses the public and policy-makers as to the socio-economic susceptibility to extreme weather.

“With or without mitigation, there is no quick-fix, single-cause solution for the problem of human vulnerability to socio-environmental change, nor is there a reasonable prospect of attenuating high-impact weather. Addressing such issues would give the world an opportunity to develop a two-pronged policy in climate security, reducing longer-term climate risks in conjunction with preventing shorter-term weather disasters.”

###

Notes for editors:

A copy of the Weather, Climate and Society guest editorial, ‘Climate Change and Resilience to Weather Events,’ by D. Schultz and V. Jankovic, is available on request.

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32 thoughts on “Linking storms to climate change a ‘distraction’, say experts

  1. So now the admission: Reducing CO2 will not “fix weather”. Who is prepared to ask the next question:
    What is the benefit of spending so much money on CO2 obsessed policies?

  2. You don’t need to be an expert to realise this, just an adult that has some experience of weather, but only a few hours ago on TV we had the inevitable statement from a green campaigner “the recent floods prove that climate change is happening”. I suspect that around 50% in the UK would agree with that statement, and no politician would challenge it.

    If the global temperature remains flat the focus will shift to every extreme weather event as the proof of AGW.

  3. I don’t believe California will get this message. They will continue to tilt at the CAGW windmill (literally) until failure is assured. What they need to do and will not consider are projects that will secure water for agriculture and the general population during all weather events such as drought. But instead they mandate alternative power sources and storage that have been proven to not provide reliable power at any cost.
    The citizens of the Golden State need to treat the current legislature and governor like they treated Gray Davis and settle this problem once and for all. But that is just wishful thinking.

  4. Lots of luck on that professors. The very reason there is no interest in planning and mitigation is the the clowns we are dealing with don’t want to reduce storm impacts. The would even exacerbate them to keep up the hype if possible. And governments who would be the actors in mitigation don’t want to stop the scare either because of their tax revenue agenda. No, nice to see but your idea won’t fly. Better to keep hammering on the phony scientific support for this crass enterprise.

  5. Well, I’ll try to clean this up so the mods will let it by, but the best description I know for this kind of dissembling is T*** polish*.

    * rhymes with bird.

  6. Connecting extreme weather to climate change distracts from the need to protect society from high-impact weather events which will continue to happen irrespective of human-induced climate change, say experts.

    You can say that again.

    Here is extreme weather of 1935, when co2 was below the safe 350ppm level. It’s worse than we thought and we must act then?

  7. I have a question. Maybe a couple of questions, but both related.
    1. How much, exactly, is Man responsible for global climate change?
    2. What would we have to do to make a meaningful change?

    I have a suspicion the answers are 1. Very little and 2. A lot more than can actually be done.

    Human pride makes us think we’re a whole lot more than we actually are. We don’t have the power, at this time, to make significant changes in the climate almost regardless of what we do. If we were to stop all technology and industry, stop driving any kind of engine-powered vehicle, begin to live like our cave-man ancestors– it wouldn’t make a hill of beans of difference to the climate which would go on doing what it has always done– changing according to forces we don’t even understand, much less have any control over.

    Climate change has happened long before Man first walked the Earth, and it will continue long after Man is a historic footnote– provided there’s anybody to read or write the history then. It’s part of the geological process of the planet, and one thing we may never be able to change much.

  8. mjmsprt40 says:
    March 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    IMO right on both counts.

    If humans set out to try to change the climate, say by burning all recoverable fossil fuels in as short a time as possible, we would not have a significant, lasting effect.

  9. Here is the extreme weather of 1936. We must act now! Anyone can carry out this simple exercise in alarmism. It’s all about shouting and changing the way people think. This is part of their hidden agendas.

    STRANGE / ODD / WILD / WEIRD WEATHER – 1936
    DROUGHT, FIRE and FLOOD AMERICA’S PHENOMENAL NUMBER OF DISASTERS
    FREAK WEATHER. EUROPEAN EASTER. AIRLINERS’ EXPERIENCES.
    FREAKISH WEATHER FURTHER FLOODS New York
    FREAKISH WEATHER. IN VICTORIA. Torrential Rain. MELBOURNE
    World’s Weirdest Weather America’s Blizzard Of Mud
    WILD WEATHER In New Zealand
    TERRIFIC GALES LASH EUROPE AND BRITAIN Ships Wrecked. PHONE SERVICES DISLOCATED
    Hailstones Kill 19 [...as large as coconuts...]
    WILD WEATHER
    MORE WILD WEATHER Tornado’s Wreckage East and West
    EVEREST UNCONQUERED ATTEMPT ABANDONED UNPRECEDENTED BAD WEATHER
    VIOLENT WIND. Damage in Victoria [..Red rain fell...a waterspout was seen..]

    HEATWAVES – 1936
    DEATHS IN CANADA SIX HUNDRED IN ONTARIO [...worst six days' heat wave in the history...]
    Relief in Sight After 5,000 Perish….America Heat Wave…..
    A HEAT WAVE HAS QUEENSLAND IN GRIP. SEVERE CONDITIONS
    Antarctic Expedition. Polar Heat Wave.
    Black Swan Dies In Sudden Heat Wave, But Polar Bears Survive
    OVER 90DEG. FOR FOUR DAYS Temperature Record For October [Brisbane]
    SYDNEY RECORD HEAT

    COLD WAVES – 1936
    UNITED STATES IN GRIP OF COLD WAVE Over 200 Deaths Blizzards, Snowstorms and Frost Widespread Suffering
    INTENSE COLD BREAKS ALL RECORDS IN AMERICA WORST IN MEMORY
    FROZEN CANADA 50 Degrees Below Zero Worst Cold in Memory
    SPANIARDS DIE OF COLD MILITARY ACTIVITIES AFFECTED WAR IN SNOW

    DROUGHTS – 1936
    TERRIFIC WHEAT LOSSES DROUGHT RAGES IN AMERICA
    WORST DROUGHT IN HISTORY Millions Hit In America
    DROUGHT RAVAGES IN CANADA
    CALAMITOUS DROUGHT. Special Alberta Legislation
    WORST DROUGHT IN HISTORY WEST AUSTRALIA SUFFERING
    Cattle Dying in Hundreds Transvaal’s Most Terrible Drought in Living Memory
    SOVIET GRAIN HARVEST SMALLER THAN AVERAGE DROUGHT IN MAY
    GRAIN POSITION IN ARGENTINA Drought Affects Many Crops

    FLOODS – 1936
    UNITED STATES FLOODS WORST ON RECORD QUARTER OF U.S.A. AFFECTED A THOUSAND LIVES LOST
    DISASTROUS FLOODS LONDON
    PHILIPPINE FLOOD THOUSANDS DEAD OR MISSING
    RECORD FLOODS. SERVICES ISOLATED Water 50 Miles Wide at Normanton. BRISBANE
    RECORD FLOODS EASTERN VICTORIA INUNDATED WIDESPREAD DAMAGE
    11 LIVES LOST. DISASTROUS FLOODS. £1,000,000 Damage in N.Z.
    300 Dead ANATOLIAN FLOODS 50,000 PEOPLE HOMELESS
    FLOODS IN FRANCE Serious Damage Reported Towns Under Water
    HUGE DAM BURSTS IN JAPAN. Six Villages Swept Away [...owing to heavy rain...]
    FLOODS IN RUMANIA. Coffins Swept Through Streets. BUCHAREST

    TORNADOES – 1936
    THIRD WORST DISASTER TORNADO IN U.S.A. OVER 500 DEAD
    TORNADO’S HAVOC New Zealand Town BUILDINGS WRECKED
    A QUEENSLAND TORNADO. Township Ravaged
    HEAVY TOLL OF DEATHS THE PHILIPPINES TORNADO

    STORMS – HURRICANES / CYCLONES / TYPHOONS – 1936
    5000 PEOPLE DEAD A Second Hurricane RUIN IN CENTRAL AMERICA
    TYPHOON SWEEPS JAPANESE ISLAND. 741 Killed or Missing
    MANY DEAD Cyclone in New Zealand SHIPS BUFFETED Extensive Damage to Property
    PHILIPPINES TYPHOON 400 REPORTED DEAD. Fear of a…
    Over 300 Killed in Cyclone [S. Korea]
    CYCLONE STORM IN QUEENSLAND WIDESPREAD DAMAGE
    TYPHOON AT HONG KONG BUILDINGS WRECKED MORE THAN 100 DEAD
    MOUNTAINOUS SEAS. Hurricane on German Coast
    FIJI HURRICANE. WORST IN HISTORY. 240 Deaths [..worst hurricane and floods ever..]
    HURRICANE AFTER FLOODS IN ENGLAND 13 Dead; Widespread Damage
    DISASTROUS HURRICANE. 300 Dead; 7,000 Homeless. Birmingham, Alabama
    HURRICANE IN CARIBBEAN SEA. A HUNDRED THOUSAND HOMELESS
    GALES SWEEP EUROPE 30 Killed: Long Trail Of Wreckage

    CLIMATE CHANGE?
    IS OUR CLIMATE CHANGING?
    Climatic Change Brought About by Dam. [W. USA]
    THE EVOLUTION OF CLIMATE. DROUQHTS: THEIR CAUSE, EFFECT AND MITIGATION
    IS THE EARTH DRYING UP? World’s Deserts On The Earth

  10. Linking storms to climate change a ‘distraction’, say experts

    Ahhhhh the experts……………again! They told us we were going to boil if we didn’t change our ways. But the weather is fine with a few light showers.

    When it comes to global warming, climate change or the environment be very careful about the ‘experts’. They talk out of their arses most of the time, too much co2 on the brain I think. They need to get some fresh air and get away from the overheated computer simulation rooms.

    Harvard biologist George Wald – Earth Day 1970
    Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
    ——————–

    Independent – 20 March 2000
    “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”
    Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
    ——————–

    Express, Dr Nigel Taylor, Curator of Kew Gardens, 8 February 2008
    There is no winter any more despite a cold snap before Christmas. It is nothing like years ago when I was younger. There is a real problem with spring because so much is flowering so early year to year.”
    ——————–

    Guardian – 27 July 2009
    World will warm faster than predicted in next five years, study warns
    “New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El Niño southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming sceptics”
    ——————–

    Asian Correspondent – 11 April 2011
    What happened to the climate refugees?
    “In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010….It so happens that just a few of these islands and other places most at risk have since had censuses,…”
    ——————–

    BBC – 12 December 2007
    Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,”…….”So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”
    [Professor Wieslaw Maslowski]

  11. “One of the long-term effects of climate change is often predicted to be an increase in the intensity and frequency of many high-impact weather events, so reducing greenhouse gas emissions is often seen to be the response to the problem.

    Is 1977 to the present long enough? If yest then show me the peer reviewed “long-term” trends please.

    “Reducing humanity’s impact on our planet should be pursued as a matter of urgency,

    Does he mean the greening biosphere?

    …..and co-author Dr Vladimir Janković, a science historian specialising in weather and climate, say the short-term, large variability from year to year in high-impact weather makes it difficult, if not impossible, to draw conclusions about the correlation to longer-term climate change.

    Now we are getting somewhere. No wonder a touch of realism came into it. The past has always been extreme. The rest of the article is just about the weather really. It lacks facts and is fat on speculation and makes a lot of assumptions. Just like the failed IPCC’s global surface temperature projections. FAIL!

  12. Anyone who has taken thermodynamics knows that temperature DIFFERENCE not absolute temperature determines wind speed.

    The fastest winds in the solar system are on Neptune where it is almost absolute zero.

    How fast is the wind when it is 100 + degrees out ?

    Probably it is dead calm.

    Why can’t the alarmists learn how to THINK ??

  13. CO2 — the narrative is not supported by the data.
    Warming — the narrative is not supported by the data.
    Polar bears — the narrative is not support by the data.
    Polar ice — the narrative is not supported by the data.
    Food shortages — the narrative is not supported by the data.
    Extreme weather events (heat, cold, flood, drought, and wind) — the narrative is not supported by the data.

    Looks like these clowns need a new narrative. I’m confident they will come up with something but with each iteration their theories get more bizarre and less credible.

    There are voracious warmers and equally tenacious deniers. But the middle majority doesn’t fall into either other those camps. In the past, they were somewhat “interested/engaged” but that is clearly waning to the point at which climate no longer figures in the list of issues that ordinary citizens are actually concerned about.

    I guess the apathy/boredom of the majority is what victory looks like for the denialists. I just wish it involved a little more humiliation for the warmists but I suppose we can be happy that quite a few will join those who promote employment and economic prosperity toward the top of the list of their concerns.

  14. Wow it takes experts to tell us thst BAD weather is BAD, and that we must prepare for this BAD weather or it will be BAD!!!!!!!

  15. Pass the Duck Tape…. My head is ready to explode…

    The same enviro-wackos that push the CAGW agenda are the same cadre of doom that block dredging rivers, streams and lakes, which could have prevented much of the flooding the UK experienced this winter..

    They are also the same culprits that prevented the construction of many essential dams and reservoirs on the US West Coast and forced Water Management facilities to release far too much water from insufficient reservoirs to help save a few trout…..

    Meanwhile, back on the farm, $billions of crops shriveled and died because they were prevented from irrigating their crops…

    Moreover, don’t the enviro-wackos realize that by creating these artificial trout pools during natural periods of drought that have occurred for 100’s of millions of years, that they’re seriously affecting the trout gene pool???

    The Mother of All Ironies, is that IPCC’s AR5 report freely admits there IS no correlation between CO2 rise and severe weather events, AND, there hasn’t been any global warming trend in 18 years, despite 1/3rd of all CO2 emissions since 1750 were made over the last 18 years….

    More Duck Tape, please….

    It’s time to pull the plug in this CAGW farce.

  16. If you are searching for contentment, and your favorite sport is cancelled by bad weather of course you will blame the climate. That recent Thames flooding event was partly created by a pump station being turned off. The British are the worst moaners about the weather from what I experienced, no sun just rain all the time. I remember relatives of a close friend came in late November, and we had a cold and rainy unseasonal three weeks. They said our weather was no better than theirs in UK, as it was late spring here. But in Oz, we can complain when there is no rain, obviously, affects the crops and pastures. What irritates me most, is the constant moaning about the climate is changed by humans. Since bleedin’ when? If we could change it we would to suit ideal temperature parameters and rain fall. Anyway, keep fighting for the truth will out – someday soon.

  17. “perpetuating the idea that reducing greenhouse gases would be enough to reduce increasingly vulnerable world populations, in our view, only confuses the public and policy-makers as to the socio-economic susceptibility to extreme weather”

    Well, if only we could find a way to reduce CO₂ contents of the atmosphere to zero, that would surely solve all our problems permanently. With no world population left, vulnerable or otherwise, socio-economic susceptibility to extreme weather would go away conveniently. An additional benefit is that there would be no policy-makers either, neither public to be confused. Chance of ecosystem damage could also be eliminated fully, for no harm can be done to nothing in harm’s way.

    For example neither fatalities nor property damage occurred in the Shoemaker–Levy catastrophe, although diameter of the comet’s nucleus before fragmentation exceeded 3 miles, entrance speed was 60 km/s and the fireball reached a peak temperature of about 24,000 K, with aftereffects lingering on for many months.

  18. the key investment is in long range forecasting something the co2ers deny is possible [because it means its not co2 driven so would invalidate their narrative]. I saw at least 2 different people predicte the uk winter storms back in oct 20133 using nothing more than normal meteorological reasoning. For the co2ers this is death.

  19. weather systems are an energy transference mechanism. Understand where the energy is and you can predict long range events. The fixation on co2 [which is a political fixation rather than anything backed up by evidence] blinds them. and squanders billions also causing great harm to the ordinary public thro unnecessary taxes and from being hit by extreme events that come as a ‘surprise’ at the uk storms did.

    it is the long range forecasters, like those who did predict the uk winter storms months ahead, who will kill the co2 narrative because of their superior knowledge of energy transference systems and correct correlation of evidence.

  20. This is an interesting article. I have made a request for the editorial.
    Anthony ( I hope that gets a mods attention ) Given that this is my ‘local’ university ( although personally I attended Salford, next door, if you will ) and they say that Professor Schultz is available for interview through the press office, do you think that there could be some value in arranging an interview on behalf of wuwt for a future article? I’d be happy to do this but would need the help of wuwt to formulate questions and then of course to edit for human consumption. Just a thought as it’s simple to arrange if they are compliant.

  21. correction on my above post

    the key investment is in long range forecasting something the co2ers deny is possible

    should read

    the key investment is in long range forecasting something the co2ers deny is impossible

  22. Reducing humanity’s impact on our planet should be pursued as a matter of urgency

    That’s the gorilla in the room. Doesn’t matter what the rest of the article says, this phrase says GO GREEN and SPEND, SPEND, SPEND. Good old fashion socialism.

  23. The study still leaves the door open for the reasoning behind the need to limit co2 output. What gets me is the striking and startling conclusion that humans have a need to be proactive against the possibility of negative natural events impacting civilization. I though the cavemen were the first to arrive at that conclusion?

  24. or painting roofs lighter colours will both reduce the urban heat-island effect

    Don’t climate scientists claim there is no heat island effects when it comes to global warming figures?

  25. If future human-induced climate change will not cause extreme weather, where is the climate apocalypse? The UK Stern Review of 2006 claimed that the “do-nothing” approach would have costly impacts in 2100 equivalent to 5% to 20% of global output. On that basis, and a lot of manipulation of economic theory, policy was claimed to be net-beneficial. Without severe climate impacts, all the costly impacts come from crossing tipping points. Projections of such events rely on rapid rates of warming and the ability of climate models to accurately project the the course of the climate many decades ahead.

  26. There is archaeological evidence that typhoons or winds affected Britain in the same way as the great storm of 1986 flattened a million trees. The thing is folks, we are building urban areas now where there were non 1000 years ago. If you live on a flood plain, like Brisbane, expect one day to be flooded. On the foothills surrounding volcanoes, expect to be affected by lava or pyroclastic flows, like Vesuvius, AD 79. I was in Cyprus in 1962 and we had an earthquake there, old buildings got cracked but the brick buildings just shook. It was frightening. We visited Cairo in the same year, and it had a sudden down pour of rain (a very rare event) and roofs collapsed killing people. Weather happens and it can kill us.

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