Or at least some evidence…
Guest rebuttal by David Middleton
From the Hartford Courant:
Climate change was behind this summer’s extreme weather
By Michael E. Mann
November 3, 2018
Summer 2018 saw an unprecedented spate of extreme floods, droughts, heat waves and wildfires break out across North America, Europe and Asia. The scenes played out on our television screens and in our social media feeds. This is, as I stated at the time, the face of climate change. It’s not rocket science.
Climate scientists have become increasingly comfortable talking about these connections.
Our study shows that climate change is making that behavior more common, giving us the disastrous European heat wave of 2003 (during which more than 30,000 people perished)…
Manntastic Claim: 2003 European Heat Wave Killed 30,000 People Because: Climate Change!
The worst impacts of the 2003 heat waver were in France… Where we should find some Manntastic evidence.
If you’re going to exaggerate, go ahead and exaggerate! Wikipedia puts the death toll at 70,000, with nearly 15,000 in France!
The 2003 European heat wave led to the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540. France was hit especially hard. The heat wave led to health crises in several countries and combined with drought to create a crop shortfall in parts of Southern Europe. Peer-reviewed analysis places the European death toll at more than 70,000.
At the time, NASA put the death toll in France at about 3,000…
July 1 – 31, 2003
Europe was experiencing a historic heat wave that had been responsible for at least 3,000 deaths in France alone in the summer of 2003. Compared to July 2001, temperatures in July 2003 were sizzling. This image shows the differences in day time land surface temperatures collected in the two years by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. A blanket of deep red across southern and eastern France (left of image center) shows where temperatures were 10 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter in 2003 than in 2001. White areas show where temperatures were similar, and blue shows where temperatures were cooler in 2003 than 2001.
Even the Alps, which arc across southeastern France, Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy (just below image center), were very warm. Glaciers were melting rapidly and swelling rivers and lakes to dangerously high levels. Climbers had to be evacuated from Switzerland’s famous Matterhorn after melting triggered the collapse of a rock face. The popular climbing destination was closed while geologists assessed the possibility of further collapses.
The heat wave stretched northward all the way to the United Kingdom, particularly southern England (bottom of island) and Scotland (top of island). In London, trains were shut down over fears that tracks would buckle in the heat, while in Scotland the high temperatures combined with falling water levels in rivers and streams threatened the spawning and survival of salmon. Throughout France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, the intense heat and dry conditions sparked devastating forest fires that killed at least 15 people.
About 15,000 of the “more than 30,000” alleged heat-related deaths occurred in France. Apparently, climate change killed at least 12,000 more people than the heat wave.
You would think that might “leave a mark.”
I went to the WHO Mortality Database to look for that mark. I didn’t find it.
I did find a very interesting correlation:
Manntastic Claim: 2011 Texas Drought Devastating Because: Climate Change!
[T]he devastating 2011 Texas drought (during which ranchers ranchers in Oklahoma and Texas lost 24 percent and 17 percent of their cattle, respectively)…
I have lived in Texas since 1981. The 2011-2012 drought was really bad… Almost as bad as The Last Picture Show drought. I downloaded the historical Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) for Texas from NOAA/NCDC. I also plotted the expected frequency of expected record events in a random time series…
While 2011-2012 was bad, it wasn’t as bad as 1957. Nor was it part of a decade-long mega-drought.
The record only goes back to 1895. Does anyone know how often record highs and record lows should be broken in such a short time series?
The probability, pn(1), that the nth observation of a series xm= x1, x2, … xn has a higher value than the previous observations [pn(1) = Pr(xn > xi |i < n)] can be expressed as:
pn(1)= 1/n (1)
provided the values in series are iid random variables.
The cumulative probability says that 5 records should have been set between 1895 and 2011. In reality, PDSI drought records were established or broken in:
- 1895, on schedule
- 1897, on schedule
- 1902, three years earlier than expected
- 1911, thirteen years earlier than expected
- 1918, fifty-four years earlier than expected
- 1957, seventy-four years earlier than expected
In a random time series, the 6th record-breaking drought could be expected in the 137th year of the time series, 2031. Since each year’s odds are independent, there’s no genuine expectation that nature will deliver on schedule. However Texas’ PDSI history is very consistent with a random time series.
Just as climate models almost certainly underestimate the impact climate change has already had on such weather extremes, projections from these models also likely underestimate future increases in these types of events. Our study indicates that we can expect many more summers like 2018 — or worse.
Climate-change deniers love to point to scientific uncertainty as justification for inaction on climate. But uncertainty is a reason for even more concerted action. We already know that projections historically have been too optimistic about the rates of ice sheet collapse and sea-level rise. Now it appears they are also underestimating the odds of extreme weather as well. The consequences of doing nothing grow by the day. The time to act is now.
Michael E. Mann is distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. He wrote this for The Washington Post, where it first appeared.
- An entirely baseless claim: “climate models almost certainly underestimate the impact climate change has already had on such weather extremes.”
- Is cited as the evidence for a baseless prediction: “projections from these models also likely underestimate future increases in these types of events.”
It just doesn’t get any more Manntastic than this! Oh wait… It does get more Manntastic…
Climate-change deniers love to point to scientific uncertainty as justification for inaction on climate. But uncertainty is a reason for even more concerted action.
Who denies climate change? At least he didn’t use the phrase “climate deniers.”
Mann is essentially invoking tht Precautionary Principle: “uncertainty is a reason for even more concerted action.”
When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
Here in Texas, rather than destroying our economy just in case droughts get worse in the future, we build dams and expand water infrastructure.
Texas responded to the Manntastic Drought in much the same manner, by building more water infrastructure, including 26 new major surface reservoirs…
In the 2012 State Water Plan, 26 new major reservoirs are recommended to meet water needs in several regions (Figure 7.1). A major reservoir is defined as one having 5,000 or more acre-feet of conservation storage. These new reservoirs would produce 1.5 million acre-feet per year in 2060 if all are built, representing 16.7 percent of the total volume of all recommended strategies for 2060 combined (Figure 7.2). Not surprisingly, the majority of these projects would be located east of the Interstate Highway-35 corridor where rainfall and resulting runoff are more plentiful than in the western portion of the state.
Benestad, R. E. (2003). How often can we expect a record event? Climate Research , 25: 3-13