From the UNIVERSITY OF EXETER and the “weather is not climate” department comes this press release that comes with a blindingly obvious title. So far, the efforts trying to link “climate change” to extreme weather events usually come up short. Often they come amplified in social media by activists like Bill McKibben who sees climate change occurring behind almost every weather event and uses that as a tool to keep his followers excited and active. But the reality is that extreme weather just hasn’t been on the increase. Hurricane frequency is flat and accumulated cyclone energy has been down, and hasn’t reached levels seen in the 1990’s, US landfalling hurricanes of Category 3 or greater continue in an unprecedented 10 year drought, tornadoes aren’t increasing, in the U.S. at least, heat waves aren’t getting worse, even though activists like to falsely claim so, much of it has to to with urbanization. Droughts aren’t getting worse. Often flooding that is claimed to be worse due to “climate change”, is often a result of poor management, such as what happened in Southwest Britain. In fact, a lot of the ideas that extreme weather is becoming worse are little more than a bias due to increased reporting of /7 news outlets.
Even the IPCC says in their SREX report ( IPCC Special Report on Extremes PDF) that with the exception of some warmer days and night and rainfall that “may” have been exacerbated by slightly warmer global temperatures, they can’t make any clear link to other type of severe weather, expressing “low confidence” in such linkages. It’s a dead issue.
Finally, it’s instructive to remember this editorial from Nature that said clearly there’s been no linkage:
Better models are needed before exceptional events can be reliably linked to global warming.
Sure, lets collect better information. More information is good, but let’s not collect it with a specific goal to use it to connect climate change to extreme weather. That’s not science, it’s activism.
Better information needed to understand extreme weather
UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Scientists need more credible and relevant information to help communities become more resilient to extreme weather events such as floods, a University of Exeter expert has said.
Researchers need improved techniques to be able to understand why the climate is changing, and the part humans play in this process, according to Professor Peter Stott, who also leads the Climate Monitoring and Attribution team at the Met Office.
In an article in the journal Science Professor Stott, who is part of the Mathematics Department at the University of Exeter, says reliable information is vital for policymakers as they decide how to safeguard people from extreme weather. Knowing what causes natural disasters can help inform decisions about how to rebuild or price insurance.
“Placing recent extreme events in the context of past and future climate variability and change would enhance the ability of societies to manage weather and climate-related risks,” Professor Stott says in the article.
Climate change caused by humans has led to an overall increase in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes and has led to more extreme rain over the world as a whole. But the risks of unusual weather events such as floods, droughts, and heat waves have changed differently in different parts of the world. More research is needed to understand exactly how communities are being affected by climate change.
Professor Stott co-edits an annual report explaining how the climate has affected extreme events of the previous year. The report has grown from considering only six events in 2011 to covering 28 different events in 2014. These reports help to explain if climate change has influenced either the magnitude or the probability of specific types of weather events.
Most researchers use mathematical modelling to help assess the extent of climate change. It is easier for them to find evidence that human-induced climate change causes extreme temperatures because there is a wealth of data on extreme hot and cold events and they can be well captured in climate models. Heatwaves occur over a wide area.
It is more difficult to examine extreme rainfall because there is a lack of accurate data, climate models can fail to represent them adequately, and their relationship with climate variability and change is often not well understood. Flooding is often extremely localised. Scientists are trying to rectify this through projects, including the European project EUCLEIA (European Climate and Weather Events: Interpretation and Attribution) which is led by Professor Stott and a team from the Met Office.
Professor Stott believes better ways of modelling and analysing climate change will be available very soon. He said: “I believe there is the potential for improvement in our ability to attribute extreme weather events within the next year or two. It is both possible to do this and important that we do. With this information societies will be in a better position to manage the risks of weather and climate-related disasters.”