Sunday, February 13, 2011

No, The Weather Isn't Getting 'Weirder'

Much of the concern about global warming centers around 'extreme' events. Having had difficulty actually measuring a consistent warming trend that corresponds to rising CO2, proponents of anthropogenic Global warming (AGW), have resorted to blaming damaging weather events on it, from droughts to floods, and heat waves and blizzards. For example, at the time, many people in the community blamed Hurricane Katrina on global warming, and lawsuits were file against oil companies for selling people the oil, that the people burned, that allegedly led to the global warming, that allegedly caused Hurricane Katrina. That's quite a logical train there.  I'm shocked, shocked that the Supreme Court rejected those arguments. Similarly, Paul Krugmann, a Nobel Prize winning economist, and hack polemicist, recently argued on a statistical basis, that a gradual warming would lead to an increase in the number of 'extreme' events (at least on the end to which the trend is moving; he did not point out that it would similarly produce less 'extreme' events on the other side of the bell curves, since that would not suit his argument).  It is notable in that regard that more people die from extreme cold events than die of extreme heat events.  It also explains the number of retirees in Florida.

But is there really any evidence of an increased frequency of extreme weather events? A study from the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project, has examined the evidence for such an increase, and found it lacking:
...the project's initial findings, published last month, show no evidence of an intensifying weather trend. "In the climate models, the extremes get more extreme as we move into a doubled CO2 world in 100 years," atmospheric scientist Gilbert Compo, one of the researchers on the project, tells me from his office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "So we were surprised that none of the three major indices of climate variability that we used show a trend of increased circulation going back to 1871."

In other words, researchers have yet to find evidence of more-extreme weather patterns over the period, contrary to what the models predict. "There's no data-driven answer yet to the question of how human activity has affected extreme weather," adds Roger Pielke Jr., another University of Colorado climate researcher.
So what accounts for our perspective that there are more extreme events?  In my best guess, it's the ubiquity of news, and relentless scare mongering.

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