Despite What You’ve Heard, Global Warming Isn’t Making Weather More Extreme

From Investors Business Daily

Climate Myths: We keep reading about how the extreme weather of 2017 is the “new normal” thanks to global warming — even if the weather in question is frigid air. But the data don’t show any trend in extreme weather events in the U.S. for decades. Science, anyone?

The latest to make this “new normal” claim is Munich RE, which issued its annual report on the damage costs from hurricanes, floods, wildfires and the like on Thursday

According to the report, insurers paid out a record $135 billion because of these disasters, and total losses amounted to $330 billion, the second worst since 2011. It was also, the report says, the costliest hurricane season on record. And if you look at the chart in the report, it does appear that the cost of natural disasters has been on the uptrend since 1980.

Naturally, climate change advocates point to this as further proof that the increase in CO2 levels is already causing calamities around the world. “As human-induced climate change continues to progress, extreme weather is becoming more frequent and dangerous,” is how the Environmental Defense Fund put it.

Munich RE’s own Corporate Climate Center head claims that “2017 was not an outlier” and that “we must have on our radar the trend of new magnitudes.”

But what evidence is there that extreme weather “is becoming more frequent and dangerous.” In the U.S., there isn’t any.

If you don’t believe that, then look at the series of charts below, which are taken from government sites, that depict trends in hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts and wildfires — all of which should be, according to environmentalists, on the uptrend.

Click here for more, including a series of charts

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. notes on his blog “The Climate Fix”

The figure above shows the annual costs of weather disasters (data from Munich Re) as a proportion of global GDP (data from the UN), from 1990 to 2017.


  • 2017 ranks 2nd to 2005;
  • The dataset is dominated by US hurricanes (accounting for about 70% of losses);
  • The trend from 1990 to 2017 is downward;
  • Mean and median are both 0.24%;
  • 6 of past 10 years have been below average;

The most important caveat: don’t use disasters to argue about trends in climate. Use climate data. Duh. (Pielke 2015 below has an accessible summary of IPCC conclusions on trends in weather extremes. See also IPCC SREX and AR5 .) Trends in the incidence of extreme weather help to explain this graph as the world has experienced a long stretch of good fortune.

87 thoughts on “Despite What You’ve Heard, Global Warming Isn’t Making Weather More Extreme

  1. Hey look I’m first!

    My biggest problem with CAGW is the first line, “Insurance claims”.

    So we are using insurance claims as the baseline for CAGW?

    Um…..? Yea. The reason is because there IS no science to support CAGW (and no, computer models are not science…they are tools of science but like any computer program, garbage in, garbage out–they are only as good as the numbers they are fed)

    • completely wrong!
      Of course there’s science. Computer models have become increasingly accurate in explaining climate over time, just like design of a plane or a car gets better. How’d that be any different. Also they don’t put garbage in. Go study what a modern climate model actually does.

      • So if the new models are improving in leaps and bounds where are the confessions and regretful apologies that previous modelling was wrong ?

      • Mark,

        “have become increasingly accurate in explaining climate over time” well I reckon they might have but the issue is how much more accurate. They do not seem to be much more meaningfully accurate and besides what models are we talking about, ‘weather’ models looking a week or a month out or ‘climate’ models looking out to 2050 or 2100? Their colourful graphics have certainly been improved but that is just lipstick on a pig from what I can see.

        As for vehicle design , I am a marine vehicle designer and I can tell you we have a much firmer understanding of the mechanisms affecting our analysys that do climate scientists.

        Climate science is about as reliable as Bitcoin futures at best. Its an intellectual ‘bubble’ coming out of the hive mind of the ‘liberal left’ who have lost all possible consideration that they might be wrong about something. Donald Trump being POTUS is not down to the ‘deplorables’ in the ‘rust belt’ it is down to the ‘beltway elites’ being so arrogant as to believe that the’ deplorables’ were of no account. There is a snobbery there that makes the English aristocracy, heck even the rat pack at Versaiiles seem like down to earth, rational egalitarians. Let the ‘deplorables’ eat junk food while the ‘elites’ have their smashed avaocado on brioche with their favourite coffee.

      • The computer models from decades ago turned out to be hopelessly wrong, they predicted far more warming than actually occurred. They assume very large positive feedbacks from water vapour, but the data shows it isn’t happening.

        The problem with climate models is that you have to wait for decades to see if they were right. But, as recently shown with the extreme cold in the US, computer models can’t even predict the weather a few weeks in the future. Another perfect example was the “BBQ summer” in the UK. So, do you seriously believe similar computer models can predict the climate a hundred years in the future? If so, do you also believe in fairies?

        Even the IPCC doesn’t believe that, though they try to keep it quiet:
        “…we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the
        long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”
        – IPCC AR4 WG1

        Of course, the climate models are brilliant at predicting climate that has already happened, all they have to do is a bit of curve fitting. But predicting the future is another matter altogether. They simply can’t do it.

      • Mark – Respectfully, you’re the one who’s completely wrong. It’s been well-known for many years that climate, like weather, is a chaotic system and therefore long term prediction is not possible. Even the IPCC has admitted that (Third Assessment Report section page 774). It’s not a problem solvable by better computers or software, it’s extreme sensitivity of the prediction to imprecision of the input data and the model. That’s why, in the fine print, the modelers themselves do not claim useful predictive ability.

      • There are no climate models, Mark.

        I burst out laughing at your ig-norant
        statement “Computer models have become
        increasingly accurate at predicting … ”

        You must live in an alternative bizarro world !

        There are no real models that make
        accurate predictions — just failed
        prototype models that predict nothing.

        The causes of climate change are still a mystery,
        except it is obvious CO2 does not ‘control’
        the average temperature — if it did,
        the models would make accurate predictions !.

        The only “science” is simple lab experiments
        of CO2, using closed systems
        suggesting CO2 is a greenhouse gas
        that could warm the Earth slightly,
        about +1 degree C. per CO2 doubling
        which would take 133 to 200 years =
        harmless (in fact more CO2 in the air
        is beneficial to green the Earth).

        See my latest article on the benefits
        of CO2 coming within an hour at:

        There are government bureaucrat
        scientists, Mark, but what they do
        is not science (they play
        wild guess computer games
        that grossly over-predict warming by 3x,
        which is just climate astrology).

        I have taken my time to educate
        you on climate science based
        on my 20 years of reading about
        the subject.

        I don’t expect you to change your mind
        but I want you to know your
        “completely wrong” comment
        makes you a laughingstock
        among educated people who
        read and post comments here.

    • Jenn Runion – January 7, 2018 at 8:25 am

      My biggest problem with CAGW is the first line, “Insurance claims”.

      So we are using insurance claims as the baseline for CAGW?

      Given the present day cost of housing and infrastructure in the City, …… how much do you figure the total “insurance claims” would cost in the advent of a CO2 causing global warming “repeat” of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake?

      • I agree – people like to use “costs” because the numbers are easily available, but the problem is that “costs” are in large part driven by overall economic policy (inflationary) and continuing property development, especially in the Gulf where the hurricanes are. This means that a huge part of the equation is, by definition, man made, and trying to ferret out what part of that is from purely natural causes is impossible.

        “Costs” of a storm twice the size of Harvey in the year 1400 would have been a few waterlogged trees and a handful of annoyed Indians, even though most of them would have been able to canoe themselves to dry ground.

    • “Environmental models”
      all have the same output,
      so it is not necessary
      to turn on the computers
      and waste electricity
      to run a simulation.

      No matter what data are input,
      about the ozone layer, acid rain,
      temperature, DDT,
      silicone breast implants,
      GMO foods, gluten free foods,
      vaccines, etc.,
      the computer output would be
      a small piece of paper,
      which says
      “Do as we say or life on earth will end as we know it.”

  2. In 1979 the average American car cost $6848…. In 2016 the average car cost $25,449.

    Population increases, increased cost of housing, cars, etc. (along with the increased cost of insurance) will, to my surprise, lead to increased overall damage amounts in a disaster. ….

    I was absolutely dumbfounded to recognize that more people living in disaster prone areas with more valuable property could result in higher total damage costs.

    • Fizz, you have entered the realm of economics which is not just a foreign language to the Global warm…ahhh climate change alarmist it is an incomprehensible 4th dimension. Their science is ideological and their ideology is faith based and economics is a forbidden dark magic. So you will never succeed in getting the people that need your understanding to understand. They will in fact remain truly dumbfounded as you sarcastically claim to be.

      • Hey Powers:
        I’ve written an economics newsletter
        since 1977, and economics can be
        explained in simple language.

        I agree that much modern economics
        uses incomprehensible math and models
        in the 4th dimension.

        It is math I learned while studying for an
        engineering degree, and then completely forgot
        five minutes after I changed my major to business.

    • I’m not sure who said this but it is basically true: “all models are wrong, some models are useful”
      Basing full faith in a model is risky whether it is a Spice analysis of an electronic circuit or a climate model. Unfortunately the validity of a climate model is measured more by whether you get the grant rather than whether it actually represents or has any connection with the actual climate.

      • Uncle Gus

        S’interesting that those of us, of a slightly more tasteful vintage, who can actually remember what the weather was like 40+ years ago, are largely those that populate the WUWT blog.

        Our descendants, on the other hand, who know little about past events deem to saddle us, and our grandchildren with their utopian vision of what the climate should be.

        And the grandkid thing works both ways. If the green goblins eff up the planet fro my grandkids, I’ll be back to haunt the b’stards.

  3. Claims values which have been fully adjusted to take account of inflation would be of greater value. I suspect that fully adjusted for inflation since 1990 this would show an average decline.

      • Extreme weather destroys wealth
        (homes, cars, businesses, trees, crops, infrastructure, etc.).
        … the effect on GDP
        (annual production of goods and services)
        is less direct,

        Few countries have good measures of wealth,
        which also varies a lot from year to year,
        so they use a less useful measurement, GDP.

      • Population distribution can be factor, especially if hurricane damage is dominant (which it certainly was in 2017).

    • Also, houses have gotten quite a bit bigger in some areas going from post WWII bungalows things like McMansions. Again, something that a comparison to GDP will tame.

    • That’s a good summary. The conventional wisdom is that it’s disasters and catastrophes that sell newspapers, and so it’s not surprising that many people think we’re doomed. In fact there are indeed many reasons to be optimistic about mankind’s future. Perhaps the biggest danger isn’t global warming (it’s almost certainly a benefit) but global warming alarmism.

      Unfortunately the last item is nonsense: 9) Greener energy
      The author seems to think that unreliables are a good thing and that CO2 is a bad thing. Of course, the real good news is that the planet is getting greener, probably due to increased CO2.

  4. The “extreme weather” meme is such an attractive and convenient one for the manmade climateers. They just can’t help themselves. It gives True Believers something to latch onto, and even those who might be on the fence could find it easy to believe since weather has become so big and so hyped, and thanks to the internet, available 24/7.

  5. Global losses were $330B in 2017 according to Munich RE.

    An average of $1.2T – 3.6 times this amount – was added to the US debt annually under Obama.

    Let’s keep things in perspective here.

  6. “…The latest to make this “new normal” claim is Munich RE, which issued its annual report on the damage costs from hurricanes, floods, wildfires and the like on Thursday

    According to the report, insurers paid out a record $135 billion because of these disasters, and total losses amounted to $330 billion, the second worst since 2011…”

    The link I went to included earthquakes among these disasters, which made up a large part of 2005. It was only a small part of 2017 (3%), but still…

  7. The cost of weather/climate damage is an economic issue quite divorced from measured extremes, which is itself a wickedly complex metric to quantify.

  8. Not tropical storms. Global ACE less than 80% of the mean.
    Not Tornadoes. US adjusted for inflation numbers right at the 50th percentile.

    So who is the layman like me to believe?
    On and on we go with so called “climate scientists” chasing the ambulances of severe weather events at every opportunity to claim AFTER THE FACT it was caused by a climate changing for the worse when they could not and did not predict it before it happened?

    Or meteorologists like Joe Bastardi and Dr. Raymond Maue who talk about climate but who have made their careers in the cold harsh reality of the world away from the Ivory towers and put their reps on the line continually with their forecasts as they predict weeks prior a significant weather event will happen and where and why, or produce relatively great forecasts on severe weather events such as hurricane?

    I’ll go with the later.

    • RAH

      As a layman, you are admirably well informed, unlike this layman.

      After the fact is an apt description of climate hysteria, and it’s notable that global greening was neither predicted by the alarmists, nor is it now acknowledged by them, as the only observable manifestation of increased atmospheric CO2.

      • HotScot
        I’m may be well informed for a layman, but unlike some that post here and elsewhere I lack the math skills to be really informed well. I just developed a very accurate BS meter as I have gone through life and the CAGW stuff pegged it! That prompted me to start trying to learn about weather and climate within the limiting constraints of time, education, and earning a living driving a truck. And so over time I have learned who to listen to at this blog and others. The learning never ends, but I will never come close to having the knowledge I see poured out here and elsewhere by many others nearly every single day. I frequently see calculations and math being presented here that I’m sure are pearls of wisdom that I will never add to my store house of knowledge because quite frankly they are beyond my education and experience level.

      • RAH

        A man after my own heart. I’m a layman interested in the subject but the maths and science are beyond me.

        I do think, however, that the debate needs to be simplified by sceptics to appeal to more like us that don’t have the desire to inquire. Too many people out there are labouring under the illusion that climate change is complicated, it’s not, in my opinion.

        To my knowledge, no one has demonstrated that increased global temperatures are bad, indeed the Roman and Medieval warm periods would suggest they are extremely good, irrespective of them perhaps being a phenomenon local to Europe, they proved man flourished.

        The single, observable manifestation of increased atmospheric CO2, is that the planet has greened.

        This, to me, is science. Observable phenomenon, not fanciful predictions, which are in my opinion, imaginary extensins extension of science.

        Richard Feynman defined science as a guess that had to be disproven. Before I ever knew of the man I defined science as educated guesswork.

        Perhaps we laymen do have something to contribute, even if it’s only the injection of comments sense into the climate change debate.


      “… so called “climate scientists”
      chasing the ambulances
      of severe weather events
      at every opportunity …”

      As a ‘professional writer’ since 1977,
      I commend you for that brilliant
      phrase … I wish I had written.

      It communicates a huge
      amount of wisdom,
      in a few amusing words,

      I hope you keep
      commenting here,
      but please make
      your sentences shorter.

      I read out loud,
      and I passed out
      during your last sentence,
      so had to be rushed,
      to the emergency room.

      The format I used
      for this comment
      makes long-winded
      sentences like mine,
      easier to read.

  9. Current costs and benefits are not relevant if you believe in the Precautionary Principle, which is either implicitly or explicitly included in all alarmist analyses.
    If there is a non-zero chance of a catastrophic outcome (with a dollar value of negative infinity), then all cost benefit analyses will show that it is optimal to spend up to 100% of world GDP to avoid the negative outcome.

    In this case, the Precautionary Principle is used to shift the burden of proof to the skeptic – we must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that our actions will serve to prevent the disaster, rather than proving that our actions are optimal today given some finite negative outcome in the future.

    A true believer in the PP will be unimpressed with any data about current fires, floods, winds, or sea levels.

    • A true believer in the PP should be hiding under a rock and quaking with terror. Life is dangerous and one can always imagine horrible outcomes if you ignore science.

    • Human intelligence has really progressed:

      They used to say:
      ” A catastrophe is coming ! ”

      Typical Response:
      ” That never happened before,
      so it will never happen — get lost ! ”

      Now they say:
      ” A catastrophe is coming ! ”

      Typical Response:
      ” That never happened before,
      but we must spend five bazillion dollars
      to prepare for it, just in case! ”

      I feel this explains why all those
      extraterrestrials fly their UFO’s
      to our planet, but never land
      to say hello.

  10. Only slightly off topic:

    Besides all that, Government funded science adjusts the numbers. NASA just updated their satellite sea level data. Compared to the October 2017 there has been considerable change:

    Substantial changes were made to earlier part of the satellite record prior to early 2002 which resulted in a lowering of the the overall rate of sea level rise, but now shows acceleration since 2000.

    That the changes have been made is a matter of fact, why the changes have been made is a matter of opinion.

    Here’s the link to the NASA data:

      • From that report:
        The team eventually identified a minor calibration that had been built into TOPEX/Poseidon’s altimeter to correct any flaws in its data that might be caused by problems with the instrument, such as ageing electronic components. Nerem and his colleagues were not sure that the calibration was necessary — and when they removed it, measurements of sea-level rise in the satellite’s early years aligned more closely with the tide-gauge data. The adjusted satellite data showed an increasing rate of sea-level rise over time.

        “As records get longer, questions come up,” says Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. But the recent spate of studies suggests that scientists have homed in on an answer, he says. “It’s all coming together.”

        If sea-level rise continues to accelerate at the current rate, Nerem says, the world’s oceans could rise by about 75 centimetres over the next century. That is in line with projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013.

        “All of this gives us much more confidence that we understand what is happening,” Church says, and the message to policymakers is clear enough. Humanity needs to reduce its output of greenhouse-gas emissions, he says — and quickly. ”The decisions we make now will have impacts for hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of years.”

        I actually have been baffled at why sea levels had not been accelerating higher based on melting land ice, thermal expansion and runoff from underground water/aquifers………… this makes sense. However, I don’t trust the adjustments because the scientists have proven themselves untrustworthy.

        They refuse to acknowledge that global climate models projections have been too warm. With regards to the numerous temperature adjustments: For instance……the temperature adjustments(lower) from the 1930’s in the US are blatantly fraudulent. The IPCC, rewrote climate history to cool the Medieval Warm Period so that the Current Warm Period would be unprecedented.

        Now, we have the IPCC and model projections for a sea level acceleration coming out first, This was followed by the data not matching, with sea levels not rising as fast as models. Then, we get the adjusted data that magically lines up with the IPCC.

        When you catch an entity doctoring data or lying, even when they are telling the truth, it’s hard to believe them.

        Reminds me of this:
        “95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong”

        It’s sad that we can’t trust the gate keepers of data.

  11. It’s folly to compare weather events with a ‘sliding’ scale. I’ll go for comparing such things as wind velocity, precipitation volumes, temperature, height of sea level surge and waves, even the number to trees uprooted, or the size of boats blown from the east coast all the way to Kansas. But not insurance claims!

  12. If CAGW were true the insurance companies would be denying the science to drum up business and make more money. 😉

  13. Here is the thing, climate variations that trend up or down will likely be difficult to determine due to the complex interplay between ocean currents and gyri, atmospheric pressure systems, and land mass positions. It is conceivable that a serious trend will commence before the data we collect will detect it. One way to narrow our search for the commencement of a significant change is to model weather patterns most likely at play during previous ice advance/retreat.

  14. Trying to use some Global Warming Logic here … in 1998 the average cost of a new house in the US was $130K, and in 2017 it was $250K, The average cost of a new car in 1998 was $17K, in 2017 $25,500. So obviously CO2 has caused the cost of Homes and Cars to increase … oh wait … economic inflation caused those costs to raise. WAIT … CO2 must be the cause of Inflation … that is about the same logic they use to explain getting warmer, colder, wetter, dryer, more storms, less storms, etc ….

  15. Weather Disaster losses as a percentage of GDP SHOULD be decreasing, all as a result of improved weather forecasting, improved media coverage, a ubiquitous personal accessibility via smartphones to those weather warnings, all allowing much improved preparedness. In fact deaths due due to hurricanes have declined significantly.

  16. What America needs is many many more extreme events – worse floods, droughts and fires – to make analysis of the data more reliable. AGW theory predicts that extreme events will be more extreme, not that there will be more, so it has a built-in excuse for not being able to easily demonstrate its predictions.

    It’s not enough to just observe weather events are getting worse, we want proof!

    [??? .mod]

      • Well there you go, if it happens every year or so there will be more data to analyse. It’s no good just believing your own eyes! And insurance companies are just in it for the money. Like “scientists”. 😉

      • Yes, insurance companies are in it for the money. So are “renewable” energy companies and any other business. I assume you are saying science is a business and should be making money like all other businesses. Not getting government grants, but working for private companies.

      • insurance companies are just in it for the money. Like “scientists”. 😉

        And those paid to degrade a comment thread

    • Stephanie Hawking

      God how I hate that expression “just in it for the money”.

      I had a debate with a left wing friend of mine the other night on just that subject.

      I asked him what he thought the insurance companies and their shareholders did with all the money they earn from us. He said “they stick it in the bank”. Which is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard.

      Quite apart from the fact that banks use depositors cash to lend to businesses and individuals to improve their lives, insurance companies in particular invest cash in long term projects to provide returns for their commercial and private investors, which to a large part, include pensions.

      Now I’m not saying that insurance companies aren’t opportunistic or predatory, but ultimately, they provide long term security for their commercial and personal investors.

      And increasing pension contributions are a far more accurate assessment of the worlds financial health than many other statistics as they represent the real world images, rather than, for example, the crumbling national pension provision of the UK, which as a socialist construct, desperately attempts to conceal the cost of a growing, burdensome strata of pensioners who are healthier and living longer than the pension system was designed to cope with.

      Were it not for insurance companies there would probably be little or no investment in energy, coal, oil, gas or renewables. Medical research would probably dry up, technology would grind to a halt and small businesses, frequently funded by investors in insurance companies, would fall apart.

      Money is a bit like energy. Whilst it may be used, it never disappears. There is no point in a wealthy man sticking all his cash in a savings fund or a numbered account where it will earn little interest when it can be speculated on emerging companies which could provide considerable profit, to be invested in more emerging businesses. The net result being employment and wealth for more people.

      That’s Capitalism. It’s a natural, normal, peaceful process.

      Socialism is an artificially constructed, unsuccessful, easily corrupted financial system that has been proven to be unnatural and the source of local, national and international violence.

  17. This whole linking of the latest severe weather to climate catastrophe hinges on a single human shortcoming:

    People refuse to see that life extends beyond an individual lifetime, beyond the “life” of one civilization, and because we only have an individual life to shape our visceral perceptions, this is the source of input thatwe choose to highlight. It’s an indirect way of denying death, maybe.

    • Yeah. Insurance companies are trying to raise premiums based on extreme events being worse and more costly. They’re just in it for the money, like “scientists”.

  18. I’ll wait for the paper were they have made adjustments for insurance fraud. There greater the disaster, the larger %%%% of fraudulent claims and fraudulent repair bills.

    • And gouging by repair companies who want to cash in on natural disasters?

      Saw this when a tornado went thru a few years ago.

      • This happened in Australia a good few year ago. A storm ripped through a city, can’t recall which one, dropping golf ball sized hail stones. Sure, there were lots of genuinely damaged cars that were either repaired or written off. But then there were some who thought they could rort the system by deliberately damaging their own cars. After the insurance assessors had finished their assessment they determined…some of their clients had used a ballpein hammer to damage their cars. The impact damage on the panels were all the same. Their claims were refused. Quite funny really!

  19. Someone needs to tell Moody’s this before they lock in the opposite case for debt ratings in the future.

  20. Unfortunately, some in the actuarial profession don’t agree with you. Actuaries, you say? Sure, they have training in mortality risks, insurance risks, finance risks – doesn’t that automatically make them climate scientists that should be listened to? Some of them seem to think so, and have developed their own Actuaries Climate Index to explain the extremes of our North American climate. with lots of fancy graphs and data showing how bad things really are; nothing sells insurance as good as alarmism does. For those of you that are interested in this aspect of actuarial climate science, you can leave your comments on a survey

    • Guess actuaries are no longer a profession with honor. Too much temptation to cash in on disaster, I guess.

  21. The authors of this article written in 2014 appear to be less pessimistic about the future to judge from the abstract :
    “Climate Dynamics

    An inter-hemispheric comparison of the tropical storm response to global warming


    Stephanie Gleixner, Noel Keenlyside, Kevin I. Hodges, Wan-Ling Tseng, Lennart Bengtsson


    Model studies do not agree on future changes in tropical cyclone (TC) activity on regional scales. We aim to shed further light on the distribution, frequency, intensity, and seasonality of TCs that society can expect at the end of the twenty-first century in the Southern hemisphere (SH). Therefore, we investigate TC changes simulated by the atmospheric model ECHAM5 with T213 (~60 km) horizontal resolution. We identify TCs in present-day (20C; 1969–1990) and future (21C; 2069–2100) time slice simulations, using a tracking algorithm based on vorticity at 850 hPa. In contrast to the Northern hemisphere (NH), where tropical storm numbers reduce by 6 %, there is a more dramatic 22 % reduction in the SH, mainly in the South Indian Ocean. While an increase of static stability in 21C may partly explain the reduction in tropical storm numbers, stabilization cannot alone explain the larger SH drop. Large-scale circulation changes associated with a weakening of the Tropical Walker Circulation are hypothesized to cause the strong decrease of cyclones in the South Indian Ocean. In contrast the decrease found over the South Pacific appears to be partly related to increased vertical wind shear, which is possibly associated with an enhanced meridional sea surface temperature gradient. We find the main difference between the hemispheres in changes of the tropical cyclones of intermediate strength with an increase in the NH and a decrease in the SH. In both hemispheres the frequency of the strongest storms increases and the frequency of the weakest storms decreases, although the increase in SH intense storms is marginal.”

    But then , they are merely scientists , not insurance salespersons.

  22. This article is unbecoming
    of the generally good quality
    of articles on this otherwise
    excellent website.

    I’ve never said that before.
    And hope to never say it again.

    I’m sorry to see Mr Watts’ name on the byline,
    since I consider him a climate skeptic legend,
    but no one is perfect. I once made a mistake,
    back in 1964.

    The data used for this article are unacceptable
    and could lead to wrong conclusions.

    The main problem is looking at INDIRECT
    secondary data
    — counting storm damage rather than
    the proper focus ONLY on the number of storms !


    that causes no $ losses, but is just very uncomfortable?

    Like in Michigan for the past three weeks?

    Storm losses can be jacked up by dishonest
    homeowners and businessmen.

    GDP would have to be accurate for the % of GDP chart
    to be accurate — China’s GDP data are very questionable,
    for just one example, and not every nation calculates
    GDP the same way.

    If there is an extreme storm,
    then should it matter
    if it caused a lot of $ damage
    by hitting Texas,
    or no $ damage
    by hitting in the middle of nowhere ?

    The total losses depend heavily
    on what country was affected
    and what area of that country was affected.

    The 2005 and 2017 peaks, I assume, are from
    hurricanes / flooding in the US and Puerto Rico.

    — Identical storms hitting undeveloped areas
    would have caused a lot less damage,
    .. but the number of storms would be the same.

    — In addition a bad storm that hit in 1990
    in an area with economic growth.
    probably would have caused a lot more damage
    if it had happened to hit the same area in 2017,
    27 years later (after 27 years of economic growth).
    It would still be one extreme storm,
    with very different damages.

    — Too few years of data too on % of GDP chart
    because a different start point and end point
    could have created a downtrend rather than an uptrend.

    • I understand your objections and have made that case in the past. However, having lived in Wyoming for over 35 years, I am well aware of the invisibility of storms and disasters. The only time Wyoming makes the news is when storm chasers happen by an incredibly great tornado (that hits nothing, of course) and follow it, a few pics of overturned semis in high wind, and a few times when wind hit 100 mph in Clark, Wy. Otherwise, it can be -30F, raging wind and snow but no one cares. The reality is news of gloom and doom is sold to volume outlets, and the east and west coast are the volume outlets. You can’t sell enough gloom and doom using half a dozen farmers in northern Montana who had their crops flood. You need volume. If we had news and not entertainment, that might come out differently. We have only entertainment, however, so the number of storms will not be of interest. Only the huge amount of damage, the more damage the better.

    • … rushing my last paragraph
      because dinner was ready,
      I wrote: “a different start point and end point
      could have created a downtrend rather than an uptrend.”

      The right sentence would have said:
      “an uptrend rather than a downtrend”

      I was thinking about starting the trend from
      a low year such as 1991
      and ending on a high year,
      such as 2017.

      And now for some more ranting and raving
      when I’m not hungry and don’t have a hot
      Greek spinach pie waiting for me.

      I still am not sure if the
      the highlighted % of GDP chart
      was presented as
      a better chart
      than the IBD charts?

      It’s not better.

      The article seems to be a confusing conglomeration
      of an IBD editorial and a Roger Pielke website post.

      I originally thought the last paragraph
      was written by Mr. Watts because it said don’t
      take ‘disaster’ charts seriously.

      Now I realize Pielke presented a ‘disaster’ chart
      to show a good news climate trend,
      and then completely contradicted himself
      by writing “don’t use disasters to argue about trends in climate”.

      The truth is that if climate change
      WAS causing bigger disasters,
      that would be important to know,
      although what could be done about it ?

      If climate change hurts people,
      through weather disasters,
      then that is important.

      What could be more important ?

      If the sea rises six inches in a century,
      that’s not important.

      If the average temperature goes up another
      +1 degree C., that’s not important either.

      If some leftist nut claims his computer says
      CO2-caused runaway warming
      will end all life on earth – that’s just nonsense.

      Weather related death and destruction
      are real, and important.

      But wouldn’t greenhouse gas warming
      most affect the poles, reducing the temperature
      differential between the poles and the tropics,
      REDUCING extreme weather?

      And exactly what does one mean by “climate change”
      — global warming, I assume.

      Well, we had no global warming
      from 1940 to 1975, so do should
      weather disasters in those years count ?

      And the bad year for disasters in 2005
      was in the middle of a flat temperature trend
      from about 1998 to 2015.

      And the really bad year of 2017 followed
      the warm period from late 2015,
      but that warmth was caused by a strong El Nino,
      which has nothing to do with greenhouse warming.

      So in conclusion, and I suppose you
      thought this would never end:

      If greenhouse warming caused extreme weather
      (seems like it would cause milder weather, to me), and
      if we were in a warming period
      NOT caused by an El Nino,
      that COULD be caused by CO2,
      an increasing count of climate disasters
      in any country would certainly be important
      to the people affected
      … and their insurance companies!

  23. “The most important caveat: don’t use disasters to argue about trends in climate. Use climate data.” Exactly. Cost of disasters can very depending on what communities happen to be in the eye of the storm. That says nothing about the strength of the storm but about the luck any one community over another being the bulls eye.

  24. That graph and trend are an uncanny match for one produced by the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia for cyclone frequency and intensity. Trending down over time. They stopped updating it when the trend was clearly going off narrative.

  25. When people build on the shore, or below the water level in places that get hurricanes you’ll get more losses. Comlacency causes this.. let’s not fall into the trap of measuring weather by losses when this could have been avoided

  26. I went to

    for their “climate extreme index” with tropical cyclone indicator, and ran a correlation of extreme index percent on year, using “R”

    I got
    v -0.01394

    Indicating a slight DOWNWARD trend in extreme weather events, but the “p” value was 0.226, indicating that such a deviation from zero could happen 22.6% of the time by chance alone- insignificant.

    • What point did you start from? The 9-point binomial filter on the chart shows a clear increase since the 1970s. At +0.4%/dec the linear trend is upwards across the whole series. Since 1970 the trend is +3.7%/dec.

      • Nonsense: I picked the “climate extreme index” – “WITH tropical cyclone indicator” and got a negligible decrease.
        Actually, it stands to reason that there should be a decrease with a rise in average temperatures after the 1800s- The second law states that the energy for heat engines comes from temperature DIFFERENCES, not just from high temperatures. In the case of tropical cyclones it’s the water being warmer than the air that supplies the energy.

        But the air won’t be getting as cold as quickly in the fall, so the energy for tropical cyclones should be REDUCED . This is why tornadoes tend to be associated with cold-fronts.

    • McIntired
      There’s two big, HUGE, EXTREMMMMMMEEEEEEE
      problems with extreme weather data:

      – A lot of extreme weather would be completely invisible,
      and therefore not counted, before the age of:
      the internet
      cell phone cameras,
      the leftist desire to report unusual weather as “extreme”
      which they somehow link to global warming, and
      far more people living on the Earth now to witness extreme weather.

      And of course random variations from decade to decade
      could be assumed to be meaningful trends.

      Another point:
      There has been far more warming around the North Pole
      than around the South Pole,

      So the temperature differential
      between the North Pole and the tropics
      has declined a lot more than the temperature differential
      between the South Pole and the tropics,

      In theory, that should cause a DECLINING trend
      of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere,
      that would NOT seen in the Southern Hemisphere.

      Unfortunately, with all the oceans, I assume
      much Southern Hemisphere extreme weather
      was completely invisible and not counted before the
      satellite age … so maybe that’s a dead end for any

      • As I said, I was just going by NOAA data, listed from 1910 on. As I said, the “WITH” tropical cyclone indicator ( I figured WITHOUT to be a cherry pick) showed a negligible DOWNWARD trend- i.e. weather events are NOT more extreme, as alleged by the CAGW kooks.

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