Pielke, Jr. has already created his “bullshit” button for anyone saying the report be used to attribute the costs of losses (to date) from loaded rolls of the weather dice thanks to climate change.
Seems that if we know in the future that AGW will cause climate extremes that you darn well know will be costly (and the SREX is pretty clear on that), it’s pretty reasonable to attribute at least qualitatively some prior losses from weather extremes to AGW (at least as far back as the AGW signal is identifiable).
Yes – ask him to show his equations and data. -rasmus
“There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change… The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados… The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses.” –IPCC Special Report on Extremes, Chapter 4
The IPCC is to be congratulated for remarkable clarity in this case!
Yea, the SREX Report is here!!! Chris Field sent me a link just yesterday on this. In addition to better context on extremes AR5 will also have additional focus on general and specific security issues.
“Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research.”
I think that the highlighted paragraph is quite clear; a change in the mean will produce more record breaking events. Statistically, this is quite true. If a similar mean is employed, then the increase in 2-sigma events on the one tail will exceed the decrease in 2-sigma events on the opposing tail. Adjusting the mean to reflect the change, will determine if extreme events are occurring more abundantly.
Extremes are extremes. As Trenberth has recently noted (http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/WIREspaper-mockup-2.pdf), given the geophysics, and that observational data cannot be explained without using anthropogenic GHG emissions, the alternative hypothesis ought to be that there is “new physics” at work which prevents the slow cooling otherwise. Counts of “extreme events per interval” are difficult to compare. Try comparing the mathematically related “interarrival time between extreme events”, governed by an Exponential distribution. The null is that the interarrival time is decreasing monotonically, perhaps linearly, perhaps superlinearly. The alternative is that it is increasing.
To take another approach, and casting the problem as a Generalized Linear Model (GLM), assume a prior that has mass on a theoretically derived rate of decrease in interarrival times. Then use observations through a Likelihood Function to generate a posterior, and see where the most probable rates are.
#6 Jack: Here we go again. Parsing sentences from here and there, and you can “prove” anything you want. It is a big volume with many sentences.
There is no end and no sense in these kinds of discussions.
Higher temperature means more heat energy moved around in the atmospheric process. More energy means stronger extremes as the process stays the same. Details they (our grandchildren, yours and mine) shall know with high confidence in a hundred years.
In the meantime, there is no reason to believe that more energy in the process means no change or less variability and extremes.
Just to add to this point, I like to stress that scientific debates should avoid becoming dogmatic, and that phrases must be placed in the right context. The whole point is to try to get as close to the truths as possible, not to advocate for a certain position. -rasmus
It’s interesting, and a little sad, that the well-attested long-term trends get so little attention for the overall problems of climate change; yet extreme weather, which this report wants to delink from climate change, gets so much.
“…extreme weather, which this report wants to delink from climate change…”
Huh? That’s not what I get from the report. It’s 500-whatever pages exploring precisely the linkages between these two things; just its existence by itself is a pretty impressive testament to how seriously those linkages are taken. (Especially since the authors aren’t paid for the work!) And there are a great many statements explicitly describing linkages (not surprisingly.) For a more-or-less random example, on p. 235 we find that:
Extreme events will have greater impacts on sectors with closer links to climate, such as water, agriculture and food security, forestry, health, and tourism. For example, while it is not currently possible to reliably project specific changes at the catchment scale, there is high confidence that changes in climate have the potential to seriously affect water management systems.
If you’re referring to the sentence quoted above in #6, then let me remind you that’s a high-order consequence, with *lots* of intervening variables between climate change and normalized economic loss.
“Yes – ask him to show his equations and data. -rasmus”
I did on Twitter. Will see if he responds, but seems pretty clear to me he was misrepresenting SREX. Seems to me that if there’s a high degree of certainty about loaded rolls of the Wx dice into the future, you can’t dismiss out of hand, as he has, that said loaded rolls of the dice have been at least a qualitative factor in prior Wx extremes since the AGW signal appeared.
The composition of the atmosphere affects the weather. All of the weather, all the time.
We have changed the composition of the atmosphere. We are affecting the weather, all of the weather, all the time. And, this goes back as far as people have been significantly affecting the atmosphere. By 1970, there was a clear signature of anthropogenic carbon in the atmosphere. That means some fraction of the energy for the 1974 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes came from AGW.
Honestly, would that outbreak have occurred if the atmospheric concentration had been at preindustrial levels for the decade 1964 to 1973? If the atmospheric carbon had been at preindustrial levels, there would have been less energy available to generate and drive those storms. Without the energy collected by anthropogenic CO2, the storms would have been different.
Thank you for that, Aaron Lewis. I’ve often wondered why that link between changing the atmosphere’s composition and therefore its properties isn’t made more often and more explicitly to lay audiences. After all, the principle is one we witness and indeed employ on a daily basis, if only to sweeten our coffee or tea.
True skepticism would invoke this principle to ask why changing the atmosphere’s composition wouldn’t change its properties.
Aaron Lewis – As you say, we’ve altered important factors involved in the climate / weather system. Therefore we can be virtually certain this tornado outbreak wouldn’t have occurred exactly as it did if humans hadn’t been around.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a similar event wouldn’t have happened at a different time or in a different location. It’s not a simple or obvious thing to suggest that x number of tornadoes extra were caused by human industrial emissions. It’s possible even that this outbreak would have been more extreme had our emissions not been there to damp it somehow (possible a priori, I don’t know anything about this event other than what you’ve said).
Also note that carbon is not the only player here. It’s possible that sulphate aerosols may have been more important, in terms of industrial climate influence, at that time over the US.
#12: ”#6 Jack: Here we go again. Parsing sentences from here and there, and you can “prove” anything you want. It is a big volume with many sentences. There is no end and no sense in these kinds of discussions.” Comment by Pekka Kostamo
My quotations from SREX aren’t “parsed from here and there”, but clearly related statements regarding the absence of trends in storm, tornado and flood impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change. I highlight them not to “prove” anything, but simply to inform people who continue to claim otherwise.
“…phrases must be placed in the right context. The whole point is to try to get as close to the truths as possible, not to advocate for a certain position. -rasmus
When denial isn’t possible, “context” is often a defense – especially in forums where brevity makes context difficult. But if you insist on more context, try this:
Most studies of long-term disaster loss records attribute these increases in losses to increasing
exposure of people and assets in at-risk areas (Miller et al., 2008; Bouwer, 2011), and to underlying societal trends – demographic, economic, political, and social – that shape vulnerability to impacts (Pielke Jr. et al., 2005; Bouwer et al., 2007). Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research.
[Response: No-one here is discussing ‘disaster-loss records’, so I’m not sure of the relevance of your quote. Please stick to the topic at hand. – gavin]
Here’s what my blogging sparring opponent had to say about the report:
I’ve tried and tried to get you to actually read – what you link to – in what you think supports your argument
Did you actually READ it? [[not really — I have a day job]]
IN CHAPTER 4.
Quote: “There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change”
Quote: “The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados”
Quote: “The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses”
It [ The report ] even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature…..
Quote: “Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research.”
The last statement by the OFFICAL IPCC… Kinda puts Stefan Rahmstorf’s latest Alarmist Claims book you peddle, in deep question.
This is the same blogger who thinks CO2 lasts shorter in the atmosphere than CH4, bec it is heavier (I tried to explain is was bec CH4 degrades faster), to which David Archer asked of me, “You are spending time reading this person’s wisdom, why?” But I also just googled those quotes and turned up every denialist site imaginable….so they’re making the rounds.
So I’m terribly sorry for what this person says, but I just thought you all should know what the denialists are saying.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 30 Mar 2012 @ 4:58 PM
RE #25, I read those quotes in context and came up with my own response:
Here’s some initial look-see into those infamous quotes that seem to contradict the very purpose of the IPCC’s recent disaster management report:
QUOTES 1 & 2: “There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change” & “The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados” [[the next sentence after this 2nd quote being: “Most studies related increases found in normalized hurricane losses in the United States since the 1970s (Miller et al., 2008; Schmidt et al., 2009; Nordhaus, 2010) to the natural variability observed since that time (Miller et al., 2008; Pielke Jr. et al., 2008). Bouwer and Botzen (2011) demonstrated that other normalized records of total economic and insured losses for the same series of hurricanes exhibit no significant trends in losses since 1900.”]]
QUOTE 3 (in that same page range): “The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses” is followed by the conveniently omitted phrase “although some studies did find recent increases in flood losses related in part to changes in intense rainfall events (Fengqing et al., 2005; Chang et al., 2009).”
From reading these quotes in context within pp. 268-270+, it seems to me this is more about economic losses due to hurricanes & floods (human/human-structure exposure and vulnerability), and not about overall possible changing patterns in such extreme events. I can well understand the findings indicating such increases in losses are more due to more structures and more expensive structures being in harm’s way over the past many years or decades, and also that is very difficult to atttribute such losses, even when normalized, to GW.
It’s hard enough to attribute increased flooding or hurricanes in the past to GW, since these are not everyday events as temperature is (there have been some studies that have attempted such attribution re hurricanes and floods, & I’ll see if I can dig them up). Trying to attribute economic losses from hurricanes and floods to GW (even if they are normalized) — which means those relative rare events would have to actually hit some economically valuable structures (a still rarer event) — would be like trying to claim a needle is somewhere in a haystack. In other words, the already meager dataset would have to exclude all those hurricanes that go out to sea never hitting land, and those that hit land, but not where the economically valuable property is. People who know stats understand the smaller the numbers the harder to establish trend or cause and effect.
Nevertheless, reinsurance companies, like Munich Re, are very concerned about the impacts of global warming, and I don’t think you can even buy hurricane insurance in some parts of Florida anymore. Also my dean, an expert in disaster studies, is quite concerned about AGW and its projected impact on increasing various disaster events.
So what do we do, wait until the wolf of GW huffs and puffs and blows down (and floods) enough houses so that we can finally attribute this worsening situation of normalized economic losses to GW in, say, 2029, then start to mitigating GW and take some adaptation strategies.
Now I know adaptation would be very expensive, like building stronger buildings and higher & stronger levees, so I’d suggest starting with mitigation, which saves lots of money, then plowing in some of that money into adaptation measures.
The only problem is adapation for a 4C warmer world may not be adequate for a 5C warmer world — which we (or our progeny) could be seeing by the end of this century in a BAU (or greater than business-as-usual…which is closer to reality) scenario.
And I would suggest reading the summary report and the whole report before taking a few sentences out of context and a phrase out of its full sentence (from some questionable denialist blog sites).
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 30 Mar 2012 @ 11:44 PM
This is a great set of posts, thank you very much.
Aaron Lewis (#18) is most eloquent; change is well upon us.
RPJr has posted this comment on his SREX blog post, can you comment?
‘RealClimate is up to their old tricks in disallowing me from commenting at their site, when I simply submitted a comment pointing to my papers. ;-) ‘
Was his comment Off Topic, hence the snip?
Your reCaptcha is really hard btw.
[Response: No idea what he is talking about. I can see no trace of any comment he has left. And for reference, RP Jr has numerous comments on this blog – many of which have been tendentious in the extreme – but very few of which have ever been snipped. But misrepresenting the state of affairs is very much one of his ‘old tricks’. – gavin]
Slightly OT, but the weakest part of IPCC reports has always been forestry. Conferences are imbedded with industry shills, and timber exporters like Canada keep “recalculating” logging emissions to make them look better, while the US won’t even release them. Country forestry conference reports are often contentious and compromised, as exporters seek rule changes, such as HWP sequestration allowances.
By comparison, behavior of the atmposphere is straightforward. The response of biological systems to global warming is almost infinitely complex, and not hard to spin.
The terrestrial carbon cycle is in the hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 per year. Ratios are being altered, as forest mortality is on a steep uptick, something not well reflected in IPCC. And it’s easier to focus on fossil fuel smokestacks than figuring out how to manage global forests.
I hope RC tries to encourage our best carbon forestry people to work on IPCC. They have not been invited, where industry foresters have time (and money) on their hands. This is a critical shortcoming of climate science that needs to be addressed.
Lynn, Gavin, do a web search for some of the stuff being posted; it’s not just single cases of confused individuals posting their own word salad. It’s professional grade PR at work, I think.
That single property loss quote RPJr began passing around shows up hundreds of times, within 24 hours. That’s not because hundreds of people happen to have read 500 pages, understood it well, and picked the same bit to blog about. It’s to shout down any discussion of the actual content.
That’s why it’s filling up blog threads and news stories. It’s being forced.
Lynn Vincentnathan says:
30 Mar 2012 at 11:44 PM
Here is projection of the Atlantic hurricanes probability for the next decade: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/AHA.htm
it is above normal but no apparent excessive increase on the previous decade.
[Response: I’m not sure this general statement can be supported either though. Hurricanes intensity for instance is not driven by temperature gradients. Nor are droughts. More generally, it underlies the point that all extremes are different and that attribution of changes in extremes needs to proceed on a case by case basis. – gavin]
“… as the anthropogenic CO2 signal penetrates into ocean interior, the saturation state of carbonate minerals will drop drastically – with undersaturation extending from the ocean floor up to 100–150 m depth in the next century. This will induce massive dissolution of CaCO3 in the water column as well as the sediment, … we project detectable dissolution-driven changes only by the year 2070 in the surface ocean and after 2230 and 2500 in the deep Atlantic and Pacific respectively. We show that different model assumptions regarding dissolution and calcification rates have little impact on future projections. Instead, anthropogenic CO2 emissions overwhelmingly control the degree of perturbation in ocean chemistry….”
Ilyina and Zeebe, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L06606, 6 PP., 2012
Comment by Roddy Campbell — 31 Mar 2012 @ 11:20 AM
I’m not so sure about your assertion that hurricane intensity is not driven by temperature gradient (warm tropical ocean; cool overlying air), nor about droughts. The main reason for meteorological drought is the diversion of “normal” weather systems by jet streams, which of course are driven by temperature gradients.But I’m glad to see that you acknowledge that there are factors other than increased temperature which could be responsible for these extremes.
… but I believe the dating from that may be screwy due to its being a feed of sorts.
At that point we are seeing it hit an xorte group, rr.com features, Australian Google group, and Jrs blogspot. But nothing else until two days ago.
Forced? In total there were 73 results from the past week. Not five hundred. Last 24 hours? The earliest was from March 29th, apparently.
I understand your frustration, and I don’t doubt that some of this is automated, e.g., syndicated, but I would hesitate to call it “professional grade,” that is, unless you are thinking of Junk Science as professional grade, which I might very well grant you. Other than that, all you need are a few ideologically-driven and therefore dedicated volunteers.
I ran across a suggestion that some parts of the IPCC report are being delayed and wondered if there have been any adjustments in the schedule, exploiting your vast tolerance – has anything changed?
A quick glance at these comments also finds the gem from Aaron Lewis and interesting exchange between Timothy Chase and Hank Roberts, for which I thank you both.
why in tunket is captcha showing a gamma?! What am I aupposed to put in there! (no don’t bother answering … am trying ‘y’ … doubt it does Greek)
Comment by Susan Anderson — 26 Apr 2012 @ 11:02 AM