The Weather Isn’t Getting Weirder

The latest research belies the idea that storms are getting more extreme.

WSJ

By Anne Jolis

Last week a severe storm froze Dallas under a sheet of ice, just in time to disrupt the plans of the tens of thousands of (American) football fans descending on the city for the Super Bowl. On the other side of the globe, Cyclone Yasi slammed northeastern Australia, destroying homes and crops and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

No evidence in this study suggests that larger storms, tropical or otherwise are caused by human activity and the emissions that come with it.

 

Some climate alarmists would have us believe that these storms are yet another baleful consequence of man-made CO2 emissions. In addition to the latest weather events, they also point to recent cyclones in Burma, last winter’s fatal chills in Nepal and Bangladesh, December’s blizzards in Britain, and every other drought, typhoon and unseasonable heat wave around the world.

But is it true? To answer that question, you need to understand whether recent weather trends are extreme by historical standards. The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project is the latest attempt to find out, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present.

As it happens, 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.

We do know that carbon dioxide and other gases trap and re-radiate heat. We also know that humans have emitted ever-more of these gases since the Industrial Revolution. What we don’t know is exactly how sensitive the climate is to increases in these gases versus other possible factors—solar variability, oceanic currents, Pacific heating and cooling cycles, planets’ gravitational and magnetic oscillations, and so on.

Given the unknowns, it’s possible that even if we spend trillions of dollars, and forgo trillions more in future economic growth, to cut carbon emissions to pre-industrial levels, the climate will continue to change—as it always has.

That’s not to say we’re helpless. There is at least one climate lesson that we can draw from the recent weather: Whatever happens, prosperity and preparedness help. North Texas’s ice storm wreaked havoc and left hundreds of football fans stranded, cold, and angry. But thanks to modern infrastructure, 21st century health care, and stockpiles of magnesium chloride and snow plows, the storm caused no reported deaths and Dallas managed to host the big game on Sunday.

Compare that outcome to the 55 people who reportedly died of pneumonia, respiratory problems and other cold-related illnesses in Bangladesh and Nepal when temperatures dropped to just above freezing last winter. Even rich countries can be caught off guard: Witness the thousands stranded when Heathrow skimped on de-icing supplies and let five inches of snow ground flights for two days before Christmas. Britain’s GDP shrank by 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010, for which the Office of National Statistics mostly blames “the bad weather.”

Arguably, global warming was a factor in that case. Or at least the idea of global warming was. The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation charges that British authorities are so committed to the notion that Britain’s future will be warmer that they have failed to plan for winter storms that have hit the country three years running.

A sliver of the billions that British taxpayers spend on trying to control their climes could have bought them more of the supplies that helped Dallas recover more quickly. And, with a fraction of that sliver of prosperity, more Bangladeshis and Nepalis could have acquired the antibiotics and respirators to survive their cold spell.

A comparison of cyclones Yasi and Nargis tells a similar story: As devastating as Yasi has been, Australia’s infrastructure, medicine, and emergency protocols meant the Category 5 storm has killed only one person so far. Australians are now mulling all the ways they could have better protected their property and economy.

But if they feel like counting their blessings, they need only look to the similar cyclone that hit the Irrawaddy Delta in 2008. Burma’s military regime hadn’t allowed for much of an economy before the cyclone, but Nargis destroyed nearly all the Delta had. Afterwards, the junta blocked foreign aid workers from delivering needed water purification and medical supplies. In the end, the government let Nargis kill more than 130,000 people.

Global-warming alarmists insist that economic activity is the problem, when the available evidence show it to be part of the solution. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, extreme or otherwise. But we can make sure we have the resources to deal with it when it comes.

A Royal Society: Aquecimento Global é Incerto

O órgão científico mais importante do Reino Unido deu um passo para trás e admitiu que é “desconhecido” quanto mais quente o planeta vai se tornar.

A Royal Society lançou um novo guia que apresenta um recuo de sua posição de vanguarda anterior sobre a ameaça das alterações climáticas e o aquecimento global que segundo eles era causado pelo homem . A decisão de atualizar seu guia científica veio após 43 dos seus membros se queixaram de que as versões anteriores não levavam em conta a opinião dos cépticos das alterações climáticas.

O novo guia, intitulado “Alterações climáticas: um resumo da ciência”, admite que existem hoje grandes “incertezas” sobre o outrora sagrado “consenso científico” por trás da teoria do aquecimento global antropogénico, admitindo que não só é impossível saber como o clima da Terra irá mudar no futuro, mas também dos efeitos que estas mudanças podem ser. O guia de 19 páginas claramente explica: “Não é possível determinar exatamente quanto a Terra vai aquecer ou exatamente como o clima vai mudar no futuro, mas estimativas das potenciais mudanças e incertezas associadas têm sido feitas cuidadosamente”.

O guia continua afirmando, “Não existe actualmente suficiente compreensão do derretimento maior e recuo dos lençóis de gelo na Groenlândia e na Antártica Ocidental para prever exatamente quanto o nível do mar vai aumentar acima do observado no século passado para uma dada temperatura”.

Em 20 de setembro de 2010 num artigo publicado no Daily Mail do Reino Unido, Professor Anthony Kelly, conselheiro acadêmico do Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), explica: “A orientação anterior desanimava o debate ao invés de fomentar o conhecimento entre as pessoas. A nova orientação é clara e um documento muito melhor “.

A decisão de rever e baixar o tom da sua posição alarmista sobre a mudança climática demonstra uma clara inversão da marcha no seu panfleto do clima de 2007, um que se diz ter causado uma rebelião interna de 43 companheiros da sociedade, provocando uma revisão e uma revisão posterior . A publicação de 2007, que repetiram informações enganosas do IPCC de que a “ciência estava clara” – abriu caminho para o novo guia, que aceita que questões importantes permanecem em aberto e incertezas não resolvidas. “A Royal Society agora também concorda (com nós) que a tendência do aquecimento da década de 1980 e 90, chegou a um impasse nos últimos 10 anos”, disse Benny Peiser, o director do GWPF.

A realidade econômica e uma mudança acentuada na opinião pública desde o escândalo Climategate do ano passado e do fracasso do tão apregoado Foro de Copenhague tem desencadeado uma série de dominós caindo dentro do tema da mudança climática e o aquecimento global antropogênico (AGA). A mudança da Royal Society também segue um outro golpe na semana passada depois que a Grã-Bretanha, resolveu reduzir seu orçamento para o Departamento de Assuntos Climáticos e unir a antiga burocracia com o Departamento do Tesouro.

Alguns analistas também acreditam que o novo guia da Sociedade não vai suficientemente longe. Dr. David Whitehouse, editor de ciência da GWPF disse: “A maior falha do novo guia é que ele descarta os dados de temperatura antes de 1850 como limitados. O aquecimento global teria uma nova luz se esta informação fosse incluída junto com o Período Quente Medieval, o Período Romano quente da Idade do Bronze e do Período Quente foram tão quente como hoje, pois mostraria informação que ajudaria a determinar se estes períodos foram mais quente que hoje. Uma discussão aprofundada da crescente evidência empírica para a existência global do Período Medieval Quente e suas implicações teria sido uma valiosa adição ao novo relatório. ”

Além disso, este recuo da Royal Society sinaliza uma tendência muito real que o ativismo politico na ciência do clima está sendo lentamente substituída por uma avaliação mais sóbria da evidência científica e mais debates científicos estão em curso.

As consequências políticas

Até à data, o ativismo político motor de “mudanças climáticas” é alimentado por uma elite de cientistas, fundações, jornalistas, financiadores e políticos à procura de uma boa causa. O combustível para este motor foi fornecido por oportunidades econômicas a curto prazo, a maioria das quais tem sido na forma de bolsas de investigação enorme, de subsídios que provocaram um aumento nos custos de energia para o consumidor. Em EUA, os problemas com produtos financeiros derivados do assunto da mudança climática sao mais crônicos, depois que o Chicago Climate Exchange (mercado de carbono ou CAP & Trade) teve uma queda quando o mercado da América do Norte reduziu os investimentos e o colapso foi quase total nos preços dos “produtos” de emissões de carbono.

Depois que cientistas do IPCC gradualmente rompem relações com o orgão e voltam ao bom senso, e fundações como a Royal Society revertem suas políticas sobre a natureza da ameaça do clima, os políticos podem perder a confiança e a tração, que uma vez ajudou na promoção das “agendas verdes”.

Isto é seguido, é claro, pela realidade econômica de qualquer democracia em que os contribuintes não podem realmente pagar os gastos de departamentos ou políticas que não entreguem um benefício de para o bem-estar público. Se a elite de cientistas do IPCC não podem ser confiáveis para medir objetivamente as temperaturas globais (dados reais conjuntos da ONU mostram que não houve aumento da temperatura desde 1998), então é evidente que os políticos não podem construir no mundo real uma política de restauração para uma crise que não está realmente acontecendo. A crescente onda de ceticismo e do ressurgimento da análise científica real certamente vai significar o fim das políticas baseadas na fé, previsão e adivinhação que tem afetado o movimento cientifico até hoje.

Em quanto a ciência torna gradualmente seu caminho de volta à realidade e observação do mundo real, muitas das burocracias construídas ao redor das supostas mudanças do clima desde 2000 tropeçaram, como resultado da volta do bom senso. A razão para este fenômeno é descrito com as leis básicas da “física política”, um colapso do chamado “consenso científico” entra em conflito direto com um dos principais dogmas da política de negação plausível. Quando os políticos não podem mais usar cientistas como bodes expiatórios, como em “não é culpa nossa, eles nos disseram que o CO2 era responsável pelo aquecimento do planeta …”, em seguida, a agenda política não funciona mais.

A curva de realidade esté certamente aproximando-se à realidade da mudança do clima.

The Royal Society: Planetary Warming Uncertain

UK’s leading scientific body steps back and admits that it is “not known” how much warmer the planet will become.

Patrick Henningsen

The Royal Society has released a new guide which outlines a retreat from its former vanguard stance on the threat of climate change and man-made global warming. The decision to update their scientific guide came after 43 of its members complained that the previous versions failed to take into account the opinion of climate change sceptics.

The new guide, entitled ‘Climate change: a summary of the science’, concedes that there are now major ‘uncertainties’ regarding the once sacred ‘scientific consensus’ behind man-made global warming theory, admitting that not only is it impossible to know for sure how the Earth’s climate will change in the future but it cannot possibly know what the effects may be. The 19-page guide states clearly, ’It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future, but careful estimates of potential changes and associated uncertainties have been made”.

The guide continues stating, “There is currently insufficient understanding of the enhanced melting and retreat of the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica to predict exactly how much the rate of sea level rise will increase above that observed in the past century for a given temperature increase”.

In a Sept 20, 2010 article published on the UK Daily Mail, Professor Anthony Kelly, academic advisor to  Britain’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) explains, ”The previous guidance was discouraging debate rather than encouraging it among knowledgeable people. The new guidance is clearer and a very much better document”.

The decision to revise and tone down its alarmist position on climate change demonstrates a clear u-turn on its previous 2007 climate pamphlet, one which is said to have caused an internal rebellion by the 43 fellows of the Society, triggering a review and subsequent revision. The 2007 publication, which parroted the IPCC’s popular, but misleading impression that the ‘science is settled’ – made way for the new guide which accepts that important questions remain open and uncertainties unresolved. “The Royal Society now also agrees(with us) that the warming trend of the 1980s and 90s has come to a halt in the last 10 years,” said Dr Benny Peiser, the Director of GWPF.

Economic realities and a marked shift in public opinion since last year’s Climategate scandal and failure of the much-hyped UN Copenhagen Summit have triggered a series of falling dominos within the climate change and anthropogenic global warming (AGW) orthodoxy. The Royal Society’s shift also follows last week’s blow to the radical climatist agenda within Britain, where the new Coalition Government announced it will be slashing its Climate Change Department’s budget and folding the former free-standing bureaucracy into the Treasury department.

Some analysts also believe that the Society’s new guide does not go far enough. Dr David Whitehouse, the science editor of the GWPF said: “The biggest failing of the new guide is that it dismisses temperature data prior to 1850 as limited and leaves it at that. It would cast a whole new light on today’s warming if the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period and the Bronze Age Warm Period were as warm as today, possibility even warmer than today. A thorough discussion of the growing empirical evidence for the global existence of the Medieval Warm Period and its implications would have been a valuable addition to the new report.”

In addition, this retreat by the Royal Society signals a very real trend in climate science circles where political activism is slowly being replaced by a more sober assessment of the scientific evidence and ongoing climate debates.

The Political Fallout

To date, the political activist engine powering climate change has been anchored by an elite circle of scientists, foundations, green journalists, carbon financiers- and politicians looking for a good cause. The fuel for this engine has been supplied by short-term economic opportunities, most of which has been in the form of massive research grants, subsidies and feed-in tariffs(triggering a rise in energy costs to the consumer) by the State and confederate bodies like the UN and the European Union. In the US, problems with climate change inspired instruments like Cap and Trade are more chronic, where North America’s sole carbon trading market, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), has recently been scaled down following a decline in investment and the near complete collapse in carbon emission prices.

As formerly obedient IPCC scientists and insiders gradually break ranks and defect over to the common sense camp, and foundations like the Royal Society reverse their policies on the nature of the climate threat, politicians may lose the once reliable traction they enjoyed when promoting their various green agendas.

This is followed, of course, by the economic reality of any democracy whereby taxpayers cannot really back departments, much less policies, that do not deliver a measured benefit to the public welfare. If the IPCC’s elite chamber of scientists cannot be trusted to objectively measure past global temperatures (actual UN data sets show that there has been no temperature increase since circa 1998), then it goes without saying that politicians cannot build real-world policy catering for a crisis that is not actually happening. The rising tide of scepticism and the reemergence of real scientific analysis will surely spell an end to the innumerable faith-based policies and guesswork forecasting that has plagued the climate change movement to date.

As science gradually makes its way back into line with reality and real world observation, it follows that many of the climate bureaucracies erected since 2000 will stumble as a result. The reason for this phenomenon is spelled out in the basic laws of ‘political physics’; a collapse of the so-called “scientific consensus” comes into direct conflict with one of the main tenets of politics- plausible deniability. When politicians can no longer use scientists as scapegoats, as in “it’s not our fault, they told us CO2 was heating up the planet…”, then the political agenda is all but dead.

The reality curve is certainly catching up to climate change now.