UPDATE: graph of damage losses including 2012 posted below. It says all that needs to be said.
This ad is running in rotation at the NYT today, and it needs an application of Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.’s handy bullshit button.
Steve Milloy writes at junkscience.com:
Insurers know that bad weather comes and goes… and after it comes, it’s not likely to come again for a long time… that’s why they’re called “100-year” storms.
There at that website they write:
Superstorm Sandy devastates the east coast with heavy winds and storm surges that flood major cities and shorelines while dumping record snow in West Virginia and knocking out power as far away as Cleveland, OH.
Unpredictable weather seems to be the new norm.
I call BS on that last sentence.
Sandy was not only predicted, many meteorologists nailed the path well in advance. In fact, some have called it ‘Their finest hour’:
From CCM Mike Smith:
Here is the European computer model’s forecast made at 2pm last Wednesday. It shows a hurricane near the coast of New Jersey or DelMarVa yesterday evening. The computer models showed more and more of the details of this ferocious storm as the time grew nearer.
The U.S. models didn’t do well, at first, taking the storm out to sea. But, human forecasters at AccuWeather and elsewhere put their knowledge and experience to work and leaned on the European heavily to get preliminary warnings and preparatory advice 4.5 days in advance. Those forecasts stayed consistent and got more detailed as time passed. By Saturday, we were predicting the flooding of the subway and two airports in NYC.
You’d think The Hartford insurance group would have experts for this and would have looked at the IPCC SREX report. But then again, they may just be out for
gouging profiting at the expense of the stupid.
Dr Roger Pielke Jr observes:
The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change. Kudos to the IPCC — they have gotten the issue just about right, where “right” means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest — sometimes it just takes a little while.
A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):
“There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change”
“The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados”
“The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses”
The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:
“Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research.”
He was prescient with this:
But, I’ll bet he didn’t think it would be used on advertising.
If I were a Hartford customer, I’d be on the phone with my agent, and not to order additional insurance.
UPDATE: Pielke Jr. adds this. 2012 was no Katrina year.
The graph above shows an updated estimate of the 1900 to 2012 normalized hurricane losses for the United States. The normalization methodology is described in Pielke et al. 2008 (here in PDF) and the data presented in the graph comes from the ICAT Damage Estimator, which extends the analysis of Pielke at al. through 2011.