Sick: Disasters good for putting climate on agenda: Figueres


EU parasite

UN parasite

This EU UN parasite should be sacked. Perhaps she should visit the wrecked homes and businesses of those flooded in Somerset or on the banks of the Thames.

Those disasters had little, if anything, to do with climate change (chronic lack of dredging in Somerset – probably because of some moonbat environmental diktat, and the Thames had worse flooding in 1947 when CO2 was ‘safe’), but that doesn’t stop Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of UNFCCC, scoring tasteless and offensive political points out of others’ suffering:

Figueres said: “There’s no doubt that these events, that I call experiential evidence of climate change, does raise the issue to the highest political levels. It’s unfortunate that we have to have these weather events, but there is a silver lining if you wish, that they remind us is solving climate change, addressing climate change in a timely way, is not a partisan issue.

She added: “We are reminded that climate change events are for everyone, they’re affecting everyone, they have much, much longer effects than a political cycle. Frankly, they’re intergenerational, so morally we cannot afford to look at climate change from a partisan perspective.” (source)

‘Silver lining’? Witch.

You’d think we’d never had a heatwave before…


Safe CO2 heatwave…

Safe CO2 heatwave… (source)

The ABC is acting as the taxpayer-funded PR agent for the privately-funded Climate Council, which itself is behaving as if it had never seen a heatwave before:

Heatwaves in Australia are becoming more frequent, hotter and are lasting longer because of climate change, a report released today by the Climate Council says.

The interim findings of the report, titled Australian Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, Earlier and More Often, come as southern Australia swelters through a heatwave, with the temperature in Adelaide today forecast to hit 46 degrees Celsius.

The report says heat records are now happening three times more often than cold records, and that the number of hot days across Australia has “more than doubled”.

It says the duration and frequency of heatwaves increased between 1971 and 2008, and the hottest days have become hotter.

And it predicts that future heatwaves will last up to three days longer on average, they will happen more often, and the highest temperatures will rise further.

“It is clear that climate change is making heatwaves more frequent and severe,” report co-author Professor Will Steffen said in a statement.

“Heatwaves have become hotter and longer and they are starting earlier in the season.”

After notching up two consecutive days over 40C, Melbourne is on track to record its second-longest heatwave since records began in the 1830s.

Second-longest?

The longest heatwave in Melbourne was in 1908, when there were five consecutive days over 40C.

When CO2 was under 300ppm, well below the ‘safe’ 350ppm. Shurely shome mishtake?

Despite the IPCC and many other climate scientists refusing to link ‘extreme weather’ to climate change, the Climate Council and the ABC are quite happy to do so as part of a co-ordinated scare campaign:

Professor Steffen says the extreme weather patterns can be attributed to climate change, with the continued burning of fossil fuels trapping more heat in the lower atmosphere.

Professor Steffen says large population centres of south-east Australia stand out as being “at increased risk from many extreme weather events, including heatwaves”.

“The current heatwave follows on from a year of extreme heat, the hottest summer on record and the hottest year on record,” he said. (source)

But where’s the warming, Willy? Global temperatures have barely risen for over a decade. Whilst Australia is experiencing a heatwave, the US is freezing. Oh wait, that’s climate change too. Everything’s climate change.

All of the above is ably abetted, naturally, by the Bureau of Meteorology, which suddenly finds it an appropriate time to announce that it has introduced a definition of “heatwave”. Which begs the question, in a country which has been ravaged by heat waves since the dawn of time, why has it taken until now to define what one actually is? I’m surprised that the Bureau stopped at ‘severe’ in their heatwave categories, and didn’t jump the shark with ‘catastrophic’ (like the bush fires), or even ‘calamitous’, ‘apocalyptic’ or ‘cataclysmic’! My own suggestion would be ‘OMG we’re all gonna fry’…

Once again, the ABC dutifully does the Bureau’s PR work here.

Paper: ‘no clear increase in blocking’


US-blockingA paper, accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters just two days ago, challenges the warmist hypothesis that reducing ice in the Arctic is causing more blocking events resulting in more frequent instances of extreme weather. The paper, by Elizabeth Barnes, is available in PDF here.

Given the weather in the US at the moment (see previous post here), which the headbangers are using as evidence of extreme weather arising from Arctic warming, the paper shows how difficult it is to make such a link. From the abstract (my emphasis):

Observed blocking trends are diagnosed to test the hypothesis that recent Arctic warming and sea ice loss has increased the likelihood of blocking over the Northern Hemisphere. To ensure robust results, we diagnose blocking using three unique blocking identification methods from the literature, each applied to four different reanalyses. No clear hemispheric increase in blocking is found for any blocking index, and while seasonal increases and decreases are found for specific isolated regions and time periods, there is no instance where all three methods agree on a significant trend. Blocking is shown to exhibit large interannual and decadal variability, highlighting the difficulty in separating any potentially forced response from natural variability.

Of course, the paper has provoked the ire of the true believers, in particular a certain Jennifer Francis, for whom this appears to be her pet theory. She gave an interview back in August last year, when the paper was first made public, in which she questions the ‘motivation’ of the author, and labels Barnes’ approach “less than objective” and “a direct attempt to disprove [Francis’] work”.

Judith Curry expresses the views of the majority reading such comments:

So why on earth would Elizabeth Barnes be out to ‘get’ Jennifer Francis and discredit her work?  Its very hard to imagine a reason, beyond the obligation of a scientist to challenge existing findings and push forward at the knowledge frontier.

JC message to Jennifer Francis:  I’ve found that your credibility is reduced and your own motivations are questioned when you attack the motives of another scientist, particularly a young scientist without any apparent agenda beyond doing good science and advancing her academic career.  The high ground is a much better place to be, and not just in a hurricane.

Australia warming at just 0.1C per decade, despite 2013 being “hottest year”


Catastrophic warming?

Catastrophic warming? Click to enlarge

The ABC/Fairfax media axis has been hard at work plugging the “hottest year on record” meme, my response to which is, so what?

The planet has been warming slowly since the Little Ice Age, and so it is hardly surprising that this decade is warmer than the last, and that individual years in the recent past are likely to be warmer than earlier years as well.

But to read the breathless reporting of this fact on the ABC and the Bureau of Meteorology websites, you would think that this is something shocking. The ABC:

Australia has just sweltered through its hottest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Average temperatures were 1.20 degrees Celsius above the long-term average of 21.8C, breaking the previous record set in 2005 by 0.17C, the bureau said in its Annual Climate Statement.

All states and territories recorded above average temperatures in 2013, with Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia all breaking annual average temperature records. And every month of 2013 had national average temperatures at least 0.5C above normal, according to the statement.

The country recorded its hottest day on January 7 – a month which also saw the hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910. A new record was set for the number of consecutive days the national average temperature exceeded 39C – seven days between January 2 and 8, 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973.

The highest temperature recorded during 2013 was 49.6C at Moomba in South Australia on January 12, which was the highest temperature in Australia since 1998. Further, with mean temperatures across Australia generally well above average since September 2012, long periods of warmer-than-average days have been common, with a distinct lack of cold weather, the statement says. (source)

The BoM’s Annual Climate Statement is a picture of alarmism, with scary graphics implicitly linking every weather event during the year to man-made climate change.

Yes, 2013 was warm in Australia, but 2010, 2011 and 2012 were cooler – it’s what the climate does.

Despite all the hyperventilating, the BoM’s own data show a temperature increase of only 0.1C per decade since 1979, equating to a 1C increase over a century. In the same period, atmospheric CO2 has increased by 18%, from 340ppm to 400ppm. UAH data for the same period actually shows slightly larger warming of 0.16C (data here in the AUST column).

With the Sherwood paper predicting increases of 4C by 2100, the rate of warming would have to more than quadruple (to 0.44C/decade) to reach that level. And how likely is that?

Extreme weather deaths at lowest ever despite ‘global warming’


Rocketing downwards

Rocketing downwards

If ‘global warming’ is such a big problem, and extreme weather events are becoming more common and more intense, we should expect deaths from such events, both in absolute and specific terms, to be increasing. But they aren’t. In fact, they have plummeted in the last century, as the graphic on the right shows (click to enlarge)†.

And in case you’re wondering what happened after 2008, the figures for 2009—2013 are continuing to decline even further, with deaths per year down to under 25,000 for this most recent period.*

Why is this? It’s not because extreme weather events are decreasing – increased reporting, better communication and greater population spread in remote areas has meant such events have increased significantly. No, it’s because as global wealth has steadily increased, our ability to deal with such events has improved out of sight. Better adaptation, construction and planning, affordable thanks to economic progress, has enabled a much larger population to cut death rates from 241 per million per year to just 5.

As Fraser Nelson writes in The Spectator (and to whom the hat is duly tipped):

We tend not to hear about all this because journalists, like politicians, are in the business of identifying and drawing attention to problems. And rightly: it’s human nature to be never satisfied, to always raise the definition of success, to always strive for something better. For as long as food banks remain needed, for as long as people are sleeping rough in Britain and hungry in Asia, for as long as anyone dies of a preventable disease like Malaria then there’s still plenty to be outraged about.

But what is going wrong with the world is vastly outweighed by what is going right.And the run of depressing news stories can actually blind us to the greatest story of our age: we really are on our way to making poverty history. Thanks to the way millions of people trade with each other, via a system known by its detractors as global capitalism.

It’s a story that no one organisation or government can take credit for – and a story that doesn’t particularly suit anyone’s agenda. But the story is there, for those with an eye to see it.

I don’t believe there can be a clearer message from these data – crippling the global economies with pointless carbon taxes will not change the weather, and will seriously hamper our ability to adapt to and prepare for whatever climate change may occur in the future, be it warming or cooling.

† from Goklany (2009), available here (PDF) * Data is here.

Britain to be hit by “entirely typical weather”


Extremely average

Extremely average

The Daily Mash:

TEMPERATURES in the UK are going to fall sharply over the coming weeks because that is what happens at this time of year, it has been claimed.

Meteorologists believe that winter, a spell of short, cold days commonly defined as a season, will be more or less exactly what you would expect.

Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “Household fuel costs will rise considerably as families try to increase the temperature of their homes.

“People on the verge of death may die.

“Ice and snow will create icy, snowy conditions.

“Your car will refuse to start.

“Because it’s winter.”

Speaking of extreme weather, how long will it take for the headbangers at Skeptical Science to label Richard Muller a filthy denier for this:

It is wise to be cautious about the panic that sets in when a storm kills a large number of people. People search for reasons to believe the storms are worse than in the past, even if the numbers contradict them. Victims naturally wish to explain why loved ones died and they look for a villain — and they can find one in global warming.

But global warming does not obviously lead to increased or more violent tornadoes. It is possible, for instance, that the increased energy brought by the higher temperatures of global warming is less significant than global warming’s reduction in the north-south temperature difference (the poles warm more than the Equator). The latter could reduce the kind of hot-cold weather fronts that generate severe storms. The current climate models are simply unable to make a clear prediction, and reduced tornadoes from global warming are just as plausible as increased ones.

One thing is clear, however: The number of severe tornadoes has gone down. That is not a scientific hypothesis, but a scientific conclusion based on observation. Regardless of the limitations of climate theory, we can take some comfort in that fact. (source)

Throw another heretic on the barbecue.

Typhoon Haiyan in perspective


Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan

It goes without saying that Typhoon Haiyan is a terrible tragedy for the Philippines. But the hyperventilating that has followed, concerning the alleged “link” to climate change, has been frenzied and emotive.

We have all come to expect the climate change alarmists and green media to link any extreme weather event to AGW, despite the fact that such events happened in the past, when the planet had apparently “safe” levels of CO2.

Chip Knappenburger and Patrick Michaels put some much needed perspective on Haiyan:

Nowadays, in the aftermath of every weather-related disaster, proponents of restricting fossil fuel use in the name of halting climate change are quick to place the blame for the tragedy on human-caused climate change (i.e., industrialized nations like the U.S.). The calls to “do something” amplify.

This is happening right now in Warsaw, at the latest (19th) in a long string of U.N.-organized Climate Change Conferences aimed at getting countries to agree to some sort of action aimed at mitigating climate change.

On the conference’s opening day, an envoy form the Philippines, Yeb Sano, gave an emotional address to the delegates in which he vowed to stop eating until something was accomplished.

“I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the climate. This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this (conference) until a meaningful outcome is in sight.” 

Adding,

“We can fix this. We can stop this madness. Right now, right here.”

Sano got a tear-filled standing ovation.

While the outpouring of sympathy was certainly deserved, an outpouring of action on climate change is certainly not. A story from the Associated Presscovering the events at the conference summed up the science on anthropogenic climate change and tropical cyclones pretty accurately:

Scientists say single weather events cannot conclusively be linked to global warming. Also, the link between man-made warming and hurricane activity is unclear, though rising sea levels are expected to make low-lying nations more vulnerable to storm surges.

In other words, limitations, even strict ones, on anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases—the very thing that Sano seeks—will have no detectable (at least based on our current scientific understanding) impact on the characteristics of future tropical cyclones, such as Haiyan, or Sandy, or Katrina, or any other infamous storm. And as for sea level rise, projections are far more lurid than observations.

The hard numbers (from Ryan Maue’s excellent compilation) show that global tropical cyclone activity for the last 40+ years—during the time of decent observations and the time with the greatest potential human impact from greenhouse gas emissions—while showing decadal ups and downs, show little overall change. In fact, global cyclone activity has been below average for the past 5 years.

The science on tropical cyclones is complicated and ultimately unclear in terms of the influence of greenhouse gas emissions, but is quite clear when it comes to the influence of demographics and wealth vs. climate change—the former grossly dominates the latter when it comes to future tropical cyclone disasters. So, no matter what this year’s U.N. climate confab does (forecast:  nothing significant), it will not result in any meaningful changes to damages from future tropical cyclones.

Category 5 storms like Haiyan, Andrew, and Camille will always pose a threat to coastal communities (and beyond) in tropical cyclone-prone areas of the globe. The best defense against them is resilient infrastructure and preparedness—characteristics surely better achieved through a free-market, than global governance. But no matter what actions are taken, more Category 5 monster storms are coming. When they arrive, the news ought to focus on where they hit, not that they hit.

Source.

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