IPCC admits uncertainty in extreme weather link

Yasi - no link to climate change

[I know I’m on a break, but this story was too important not to comment – Ed]. The risk of more frequent extreme weather is one of the most potent scare tactics used by climate alarmists and politicians alike. The Greens are the experts at this kind of moral posturing, with the following being a classic example:

GREENS leader Bob Brown is facing mounting condemnation after calling on coal companies to foot the bill for the Queensland flood recovery.

Senator Brown said coal companies, as major climate change contributors, should pay a 40 per cent resources super profits tax to pay for the clean-up. (source)

Or this:

The Australian Greens say Tropical Cyclone Yasi is a “tragedy of climate change”.

The party was heavily criticised after it linked the Queensland floods to climate change and blamed coal miners.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne says the cyclone is another example of why it is important to cut carbon pollution.

“This is a tragedy, but it is a tragedy of climate change,” she said. (source)

But the Greens don’t care about the facts. They are more interested in pushing their extreme-Left agenda of social change via the Trojan horse of environmentalism, and they will use any tools and tactics they can find to achieve that aim.

The UN is very similar in its response, blaming global warming for increased extreme weather events (naturally to justify its position of advocating urgent action on climate). The Russian heatwave and Pakistani floods were a prime example (see here).

But today we read that a leaked report, astonishingly from the IPCC itself, analysing the link between climate change and extreme weather, has admitted to considerable uncertainties:

WIDELY-HELD assumptions that climate change is responsible for an upsurge in extreme drought, flood and storm events are not supported by a landmark review of the science.

And a clear climate change signal would not be evident for decades because of natural weather variability.

Despite the uncertainties, politicians – including US President Barack Obama in his address to federal parliament yesterday – continue to link major weather events directly to climate change.

Greens leader Bob Brown yesterday highlighted Mr Obama’s climate change comments and said the extreme weather impacts were “not just coming, they are happening”.

But rather than bolster claims of a climate change link, the scientific review prepared by the world’s leading climate scientists for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights the level of uncertainty. After a week of debate, the IPCC will tonight release a summary of the report in Kampala, Uganda, as a prelude to the year’s biggest climate change conference, being held in Durban, South Africa.

The full report will not be released for several months but a leaked copy of the draft summary, details of which have been published by the BBC and a French news agency, have provided a good indication of what it found.

While the human and financial toll of extreme weather events has certainly risen, the cause has been mostly due to increased human settlement rather than worse weather.

There is only “low confidence” that tropical cyclones have become more frequent, “limited to medium evidence available” to assess whether climatic factors have changed the frequency of floods, and “low confidence” on a global scale even on whether the frequency has risen or fallen. (source – behind paywall)

They can’t even determine the sign of the effect! You can’t get much more uncertain than that!

Overconfidence in its own results by the IPCC is one of the greatest challenges that must be overcome to sweep away the political spin that clouds the IPCC’s reports. Suppression of uncertainty is one of the main criticisms of later reports (especially 2003 and 2007), so an acknowledgement that uncertainty exists is a positive step. It’s very surprising to see the IPCC apparently reporting the science in a more impartial way than has been seen before. Previously such off-message results would have been twisted and spun to keep the agenda going. But here we have the IPCC publishing material which challenges the agenda.

This story is important for two reasons: firstly, that politicians can no longer continue to parade extreme weather events as evidence of climate change to justify their policies, and secondly, it shows (I hope) a change in the attitude of the IPCC, which appears to be more willing to accept the level of uncertainty in the science of climate change in general.

However, I wouldn’t hold out too much hope – the next main report will no doubt be back to business as usual…


  1. Lynne Hopewell via Facebook says:

    How about we through Haarp and chem trails in there not to mention radiation leakages!!!

  2. Blair Boonie Giles via Facebook says:

    Just positioning themselves. They won’t be slowing down from the socialist agenda, but merely opening the back door for when they need to amend their claims because the real world doesn’t conform to the ‘models’.

    Like the mythological hydra, if they have one head make one claim, and a second head make another, they can claim to have been right no matter what happens.

  3. I notice one of the things they are now forecasting is extreme sunshine.
    I would like to know how this differs say from heavy sunshine or normal sunshine or mild sunshine or even lite sunshine.I mean really give me a break.

  4. IPCC were just hoping that they could sneak this “oops through” while you were on your break…. Pst did any one tell them that if they had such a great model that then this little “7 year itch” hiatus would have been predicted……?

  5. Claiming the signal of climate change may not be noticed for several decades allows the alarmists to escape scrutiny for some of the more outrageous claims [cough-Tim Flannery-cough]. By the time these claims can be held to account, the whole world may be paying a carbon tax.

  6. Fact No.1: Total number of human deaths in 2011 caused by extreme global warming weather events – 0
    Fact No.2: Total number of human deaths in 2011 caused by the Fukushima nuclear reactor radiation leak – 0
    Fact No.3: Total number of human deaths in 2011 caused by climate change induced famine – 0
    Fact No.4: Total number of human deaths in 2011 probably caused by eating organic cucumbers – 16

    So we’ve got the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) to look after the total of ‘0’ deaths from extreme weather. We’ve got the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to look after the ‘0’ deaths caused by nuclear power leakages and the UN (United Nations) to look after the ‘0’ deaths from climate change related famine … but where ‘o where is the OCNPA (Organic Cucumber Non-Proliferation Agency) to take care of the ’16’ cucumber related deaths?????

  7. Too late for downunder, we’re already in carbon tax……and now comes ETS……

  8. Bruce Elton via Facebook says:

    the IPCC sucks; anything even remotely connected with the UN does….

  9. Nemo Stone via Facebook says:
  10. Nemo Stone via Facebook says:

    You can download the pdf for $5 US.

  11. I have never read such BS, I live in Queensland, if you think back to the late 60’s you will find the southern coast of QLD had a lot of cyclones over a 3 year period, why is it all of a concern that cyclone Yasi is a bad boy and it relates to climate change, or maybe we just sit and forget the past. Every year i hear, “oh shit it is hot weather already, and its going to be a hot summer” stupid, last summer was hot too, how quickly people forget.

  12. Simon.
    Come back as often as possible your reports and blog is important to your Canadian readers too.

  13. Meanwhile … over at the warmist ABC they again outdo themselves with the headline “Extreme weather to worsen with climate change: UN”.

    And even Greenpeace gets in on the act “Today’s IPCC report brings home the inescapable fact: that climate change is … causing an escalation in impacts … most of which are increasingly being borne by the developing world,” Greenpeace climate policy coordinator Maria Ryding said.

    Actually, the only inescapable fact is that previous catastrophic predictions have all failed to live up to expectations. Computer climate models are about as reliable as using a crystal ball or a Nostradamus quatrain!

  14. The warmist hacks will not let up, despite what the draft report actually says:

    “A definitive report from the the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released today says it now certain that human emissions of greenhouse gases and warming aerosols like black carbon are increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather by putting more heat energy into the climate system. ”


  15. Actually Baldrick, let’s be honest, Nostradamus predictions are far more accurate than IPCC climate models 🙂 Pity he isn’t alive, the IPCC psuedo-scientists could ask him to make future predictions for them that might be alot more accurate than their current ones have been. 😀

  16. thingadonta says:

    During el ninos there are less storms in Australia (albeit more on the east pacific); in fact it is downright calm. The relationship between warmth and storms is not linear, even in an el nino (warm) year or two.

    Historically, more storms generally happen during colder periods, such as in the Little Ice Age. The reason for this could be the overall temperature differential, ie storms are stronger and more likely when two temperature differential air masses meet.

    If the poles warm faster than the tropics during global warming, which seems to be happening (mostly due to the sun I suspect), then storm levels might be expected to decrease, as the overall T differential decreases. This seems to be occuring. So more heat doesn’t nercassarily correlate with more storms, what you need is more T differences between regions. (Non- linear relationships are hard for the left to understand, since it goes against the grain of ‘evenness’, as also does elliptical orbits rather than circular etc etc).

    The Medieval Warm period was also known for its calm balmy weather, and probably because the T differential between the poles and tropics was less than in the Little Ice Age. The Pacific Ocean was named because of its overall pacifist (ie calm) nature, compared to the Atlantic, because it distributes heat further, as it covers more of the globe.

    But of course, the extreme greens dont even think there was a Medievel Warm period, so no wonder they dont get it.

  17. Just a bit OT, but as the subject includes Bob Brown and Christine Milne, set me wondering if, as Tasmanian Green Senators, they would object to the mining of Lithium from mines around Deloraine, Sheffield, Moles Creek, some of which have produced Lithium.
    Lithium is used in the manufacture of batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles.
    This mining would then be able to qualify as green projects and green jobs.
    Did I mention that these mining areas are in forestry areas ?
    Can you hear the screams of “NIMBY, NIMBY” ?

  18. Sooner or later science will have to play some part in this debate. Or as Shakespeare put it so ” ,truth will out.” Scientific truth plays no favorites. The way I see it these dam alarmists have about another five years more of no significant warming before the jig is up. Put up( evidence of AGW) or shut up. As for Bob Brown,he is unreachable in his parallel universe. No point in even commenting on the ecoterrorist.

  19. Paul Bennett says:

    Do you think someone is artificially trying to change our climate and play god with it and then blame us? Have you taken a look at the beuro of meteorology’s radar recently? http://www.bom.gov.au/products/national_radar_sat.loop.shtml

    Also watch the documentary, “What in the world are They spraying” also look at the website http://www.australianrain.com.au

    There was a geoengineering conference in canberra last September http://www.nccarf.edu.au/node/749

    Share this information like an insane bush fire!

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