Monday, March 24, 2014

Extreme weather events linked to global warming

From the Associated Press:
Much of the extreme weather that wreaked havoc in Asia, Europe and the Pacific region last year can be blamed on human-induced climate change, the U.N. weather agency says.

The World Meteorological Organization's annual assessment Monday said 2013 was the sixth-warmest year on record. Thirteen of the 14 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century.

A rise in sea levels is leading to increasing damage from storm surges and coastal flooding, as demonstrated by Typhoon Haiyan, the agency's Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said. The typhoon in November killed at least 6,100 people and caused $13 billion in damage to the Philippines and Vietnam.

Australia, meanwhile, had its hottest year on record.

"Many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change," Jarraud said.

He also cited other costly weather disasters such as $22 billion damage from central European flooding in June, $10 billion in damage from Typhoon Fitow in China and Japan, and a $10 billion drought in much of China.

Only a few places - including the central U.S. - were cooler than normal last year, but 2013 had no El Nino, the warming of the central Pacific that happens once every few years and changes rain and temperature patterns around the world.

Jarraud spoke as top climate scientists and representatives from about 100 governments with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met in Japan to complete their latest report on global warming's impact on hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war.

Speaking in Geneva, Jarraud drew special attention to studies and climate modeling examining Australia's recent heat waves, saying the high temperatures there would have been virtually impossible without the emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

"It is not possible to reproduce these heat waves in the models if you don't take into account human influence," he said.

This won't get much attention here in Nebraska - it was pretty much buried by the local news station where I found it - so I thought I'd repost it here. I'm already hearing comments about the harsh winter (not so much here, but certainly in the eastern part of the United States) from climate change deniers.

Of course, local weather is not global climate, though global climate will certainly have an impact on local weather. And when it comes to science, I'm going with the scientific consensus, no matter what the issue might be.

I don't know how in the world you could imagine that you know more than scientists in their own field of expertise, or why you'd accept the claims of politicians and political pundits instead of scientists - again in their own field of expertise. Don't you understand the scientific method at all?


Jim Harris said...

You should get your readers to read this:

Dan Pangburn said...

Search keyword AGW unveiled (no embedded space) to discover what has driven climate change since before 1900.

WCG said...

Thanks for the link, Jim.

WCG said...

Uh, huh. And why should we believe you, rather than the consensus of climatologists worldwide? Even if you were a climatologist yourself - and it doesn't appear that you are - that would make no sense at all.

For a layman, picking a minority position to believe is just deciding what you want to believe first, and then finding someone who holds that position. Given the diversity of human beings, that's never hard. Random people can believe almost anything.

If you've actually got evidence to back up your claims, you'll be able to convince climatologists, and the consensus will change. At that point, my opinion will change, too.

You see, I'm no expert on this, and I simply can't be an expert in every scientific discipline. But I know enough about science and the scientific method to accept the scientific consensus, where there is one.

If climatologists are wrong, I recommend you demonstrate that to them.

Dan Pangburn said...

Belief is for religion.

People with enough science skill to follow the work recognize it as valid. Nature will eventually convince the rest.

The demonstration is there. I can explain it to you but I can not understand it for you.

WCG said...

"People with enough science skill to follow the work recognize it as valid."

Clearly not, because you haven't convinced the scientific community. Anyone can make claims. Creationists are always telling me they can disprove evolution, for example. I'm no more a biologist than I'm a climatologist, but even I can recognize that they don't have a clue.

I glanced at your website, but why would I waste any more time with it? There are a million crackpot websites on the internet. If you're not a crackpot, then convince the people who actually know something about climatology.

If you've actually got evidence to back up your claims, why are you posting this stuff on the internet, instead of in scientific journals? Change the scientific consensus and my own opinion will change. Until then, it's simply not worth my time.

Dan Pangburn said...

The 'science community' is starting to come around. APS is one of the first to question the AGW mantra

Many Climatologists have been wrong for at least a couple of decades. One of the biggies is the epic fail of the climate scientist's GCMs to predict the ongoing flat average global temperatures (AGT) since before 2001. The average of their GCMs predicted the AGT to be about 0.3 K higher than it is.

Expect a lot more to come around when they see, in a scientific journal, my paper, now part through peer review, and the declining AGT trend.

I like most of your quotes and, in fact, often paraphrase the Feynman one when referring to the 'consensus'.

WCG said...

Maybe, maybe not. We'll see.

You link to a very biased editorial (from a website of stock market investors, not scientists!), but even that doesn't seem to say that the American Physical Society is "starting to come around," though you might hope for that. Certainly, the APS official statement very strongly supports the current consensus of climatologists.

And as my post above indicates, 13 of the 14 warmest years have been in the 21st Century - and we're only talking about through 2013, which was apparently the 6th warmest ever! "Epic fail"? Not from what I've seen.

You may be right, of course. There are no guarantees. But choosing to believe anything but the scientific consensus - on any issue - would be stupid. The scientific consensus is based on evidence as evaluated by people who actually know what they're talking about (i.e. not laymen, like me), and if the evidence does come to show that it was wrong, it will change.

As I said previously, for a layman like me to pick a position I like better than the scientific consensus would be faith-based thinking. It would be just picking what I want to believe. The consensus could always be wrong, but that's certainly not the smart bet (and would not be the smart bet for our society).

If - if - you can convince enough climatologists, so that the consensus changes, I'll congratulate you then. And my opinion will also change. Until then, though, there's absolutely zero reason for me to accept your claims.

This is the internet. You can find people claiming anything, if you look long enough. I've often heard claims just like yours from creationists, too. And people being people, you can never get 100% agreement about anything, either.

But it shows the strength of the scientific method that scientists do come to a consensus about what's true and what isn't. (Contrast that with religion, or politics!) It's always provisional - it's never guaranteed to be true - but as I said before, if you expect me to change my mind, convince the experts and change the consensus first.

Dan Pangburn said...

A couple of examples where the consensus got it wrong:
The consensus was once that the sun went around the earth.
The consensus was once that stress caused ulcers.

This 'climate consensus' has been declared to be wrong by luminaries like Litzen from MIT and Christy from UAH and the 31,487 less luminous who signed the Oregon Petition

The IPCC, the main purveyors of the 'consensus', is a blatantly political UN body whose primary agenda is to redistribute wealth from successful nations to less successful ones.

Humanity has already wasted about a trillion (with a T) dollars in failed efforts to prove that CO2 change causes climate change and in misguided activities to try to do something about it.

Nature will ultimately convince most. My work has convinced me, and I was simply searching for the truth. My agenda is to enlighten others and stop the waste.

Calling an odorless, transparent gas that is absolutely mandatory for all life on earth a pollutant is scientific incompetence and distracts from real atmospheric pollutants such as particulates, mercury, NOX and sulfur (as the Chinese are discovering).

WCG said...

OK, apparently you are a crackpot. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, but you've convinced me otherwise now.

The greenhouse effect has been known for nearly 200 years. And water is also "absolutely mandatory for all life on earth," but floods still cause damage, and water can still kill you in large enough quantities.

I shouldn't have to tell you that. And I shouldn't have to tell you about the scientific method, either. Science comes to a worldwide consensus because it's based on demonstrable evidence.

But even more than that, there are deliberate mechanisms by which science keeps testing itself. Thus, if you can demonstrate that the consensus is wrong, the consensus will change (and you'll become one of the heroes of science). But you can't just claim that it's wrong. You actually have to demonstrate that.

Your pet theory is sunspots, apparently, but there's nothing new in that. Do you think that climatologists have simply ignored sunspots? (I'm reminded of people who tell me that the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution. Do they think that biologists somehow overlooked something that simple?)

You first example is laughable. It was never the scientific consensus that the sun went around the earth. People undoubtedly believed that, but the scientific method didn't even exist back then. Again, I shouldn't have to tell you that.

But yes, when a bacterial cause for ulcers was first proposed, that went against mainstream medical science. Scientists looked at the evidence, and it was valid, so the consensus changed.

When prions were first proposed as a disease mechanism for Mad Cow Disease, that was widely doubted, too. Scientists looked at the evidence, tested it with independent research, and found that it was valid, so the consensus changed.

When cold fusion was first announced, it went against the consensus. Scientists looked at it, but they could not duplicate the supposed findings. The evidence wasn't there. It was apparently just a wild claim. After all, anyone can make a claim.

It could still be true, and if anyone ever comes up with evidence that it is true, the consensus will change. That's the beauty of the scientific method. That's the strength of science, not a weakness.

But why should I have to tell you this? The scientific consensus isn't a popularity contest. It's backed by evidence from peer-reviewed research. It can still be wrong, of course. All science is provisional. But you still have to demonstrate that - to scientists working within their own field of expertise.

Your petition is laughable. What do engineers, for example, know about climatology? If you're outside your own field of expertise - and with just a bachelors degree? - you're no better than a layman. I always laugh when an astronomer or a dentist expresses doubts about evolution. You might as well ask a bus driver.

Again, I shouldn't have to tell you this. And spare me your conspiracy theories. We have a worldwide consensus of scientists working within their own field of expertise. You don't get that with anything else but science, and for good reason.

You may be convinced, but there are a lot of crackpots on the internet, so why would you expect to convince anyone else,... when you haven't convinced the people who actually know something about climatology?

Frankly, your last comment - and, in particular, your last paragraph - has convinced me that you're just one of those random crackpots which infest the internet. You're certainly not making your case here!

As I've said over and over again, change the scientific consensus and my opinion will also change. Anything else would be irrational.