Damage losses and climate change

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:58 PM GMT on January 03, 2012

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During 2011, a series of violent tornado outbreaks hit the Plains and Southeast U.S., bringing an astonishing six billion-dollar disasters in a three-month period. The epic tornado onslaught killed 552 people and brought three of the five largest tornado outbreaks on record in a six-week period, including the largest and most expensive tornado outbreak in U.S. history--the April 25 - 28 Super Outbreak, which did $10.2 billion dollars in damage. Insured losses due to thunderstorms and tornadoes in the U.S. were at least $25 billion in 2011, more than double the previous record set in 2010. Damages from thunderstorms and tornadoes since 1980 have shown a clear increase since 1980 (Figure 2.) Disaster losses world-wide from weather-related natural disasters have also shown a significant increase in recent years, as has the number of these disasters. But how much of this is due to a change in the climate, and how much might be due to increases in population, wealth, and other factors?


Figure 1. Damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after the April 27, 2011 EF-4 tornado. Image credit: NOAA.


Not enough evidence to judge if climate change is affecting tornadoes
As I discussed last week in my post, 2011: Year of the Tornado, as far as we can tell, the number of damaging tornadoes has not increased in recent years, though the quality of the data set is to poor to know for sure. This is largely due to the fact that we never directly measure a tornado's winds--a tornado has to run over a building before we can make an EF-scale strength estimate, based on the damage. As tornado researcher Chuck Doswell said in a 2007 paper, "I see no near-term solution to the problem of detecting detailed spatial and temporal trends in the occurrence of tornadoes by using the observed data in its current form or in any form likely to evolve in the near future." My 2008 post, Are tornadoes getting stronger and more frequent?, discussed how a better way to assess how climate change may be affecting tornadoes is to look at how the large-scale environmental conditions favorable for tornado formation have changed through time. The most important ingredients for tornado formation are usually high atmospheric instability (as measured by the Convective Available Potential Energy, or CAPE), and high amounts of wind shear between the surface and 6 km altitude. Not enough work has been done on the subject to judge whether or not climate change is affecting severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, though.


Figure 2. Insured losses due to thunderstorms and tornadoes in the U.S. in 2011 dollars. Data taken from Property Claims Service MR NatCatSERVICE. Image credit: Munich Re.

Are the number of weather-related disasters increasing?
At a talk given last month at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Mark Bove of Munich Re insurance company examined trends in both damages and number of natural disasters since 1980. These numbers have shown significant increases since 1980. After we take out the increase in disasters reported due to an increasing population, greater wealth, and more advanced communications, is there a trend due to climate change? One way to check is to compare natural disasters due to geophysical events--earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions--to weather-related disasters. Geophysical disasters should remain relatively constant in number in a changing climate (unless sea level rise is occurring so rapidly that it is causing significant changes in stress on earthquake faults, something that is theoretically possible, but has not yet been observed.) If we then look at trends in the number of geophysical disasters versus weather-related disasters reported, it should give us an idea of how much of the recent increase in weather-related disasters may be due to climate change. Between 1980 and 2010, geophysical disasters increased by about a factor of 1.5, while weather-related disasters increased by a factor of 2.7 to 3.5 (Figure 3.) Bove stated that he thought weather-related disasters were likely subject to a higher increase in reporting rate than geophysical disasters, but not enough to account for the huge difference. Climate change was the likely reason for a large portion of the increase in weather-related disasters in recent years, he argued. His talk concluded, "there is quite some probability that natural catastrophe losses are driven already by human-caused climate change."


Figure 3. The number of natural disasters reported has increased markedly worldwide since 1980, particularly for weather-related disasters. Image credit: Munich Re.

However, this conclusion is controversial. A 2010 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society by Netherlands researcher Laurens Bouwer titled, "Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change?", looked at 22 disaster loss studies world-wide, published between 2001 and 2010. All of the studies showed an increase in damages from weather-related disasters in recent decades. Fourteen of the 22 studies concluded that there were no trends in damage after correcting for increases in wealth and population, while eight of the studies did find upward trends even after such corrections, bringing up the question whether or not climate change could be responsible for the increased disaster losses. However, Bouwer found that "studies that did find increases after normalization did not fully correct for wealth and population increases, or they identified other sources of exposure increases or vulnerability changes or changing environmental conditions." In all 22 studies, increases in wealth and population were the "most important drivers for growing disaster losses." He concluded that human-caused climate change "so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters."

Using storm surge to evaluate damage normalization studies
Damage from landfalling storms can be used to estimate if hurricanes are growing stronger with time, but damage estimates must first be corrected to account for changes in wealth and population over time. A 2008 study by Pielke et al. found that although hurricane damages had been doubling every ten years in recent decades, there were no increases in normalized hurricane damages in the U.S. from 1900 - 2005. They used census and economic data to adjust for how increases in populations and wealth may have affected hurricane damages over time. However, Grinsted et al. (2012) questioned whether or not this was done correctly. They found that storm surge heights of U.S. hurricanes and tropical storms correlated very well with metrics that looked at storm intensity, when looking at many decades of data to see long-term trends. However, the researchers found that while short-term trends in normalized hurricane damage estimated by Pielke et al. (2008) did correlate well historical storm surges, these normalized damages had poor correlation with the storm surge record, when looking at decades-long time scales. This implies that the corrections were biased. Dr. Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia makes the case that efforts such as the one done by Pielke et al. (2008) to normalize disaster losses are probably biased too low, since they only look at factors that tend to increase disaster losses with time, but ignore factors that tend to decrease disaster losses. These ignored factors include improvements in building codes, better weather forecasts allowing more preparation time, and improved fire-fighting ability. He writes, "Most normalization research to date has not accounted for those variables because they are extremely difficult to quantify. (And most researchers have been at pains to point that out; e.g., Neumayer & Barthel, 2011, pp. 23-24.) In effect, normalization research to date largely rests on the oddly inconsistent pair of assumptions that (a) we have built up enormous wealth during the 20th century but (b) did so without any technological advance whatsoever." For example, during a severe October 2013 windstorm that did over $1 billion in damage to France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark, "The insured losses for the St. Jude's Day storm would have been significantly higher but for the accuracy in weather forecasting several days ahead of the storm's formation", said financial information services company Fitch Services, since "policyholders have more time to protect their property from potential damage, while government agencies, utility firms and transport companies can make logistical arrangements to minimize disruption to power supplies and transport networks."

Conclusion
Studies showing no increase in normalized damage from storms have high uncertainty, and it is possible that higher economic damages due to stronger storms is indeed occurring, though the current research does not show this. Looking at disasters losses to make an argument that climate change is affecting our weather is difficult, due to the rarity of extreme events, and the changes in wealth and population that also affect disaster losses. We are better off looking at how the atmosphere, oceans, and glaciers are changing to find evidence of climate change--and there is plenty of evidence there.

References
Tornado researcher Dr. Harold Brooks has a May 2012 op-ed in New Scientist that discusses the difficulty in predicting how climate change will impact tornadoes.

Bouwer, L, 2010, "Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change?", BAMS, January 2011, DOI:10.1175/2010BAMS3092.1

Doswell, C.A., 2007, "Small Sample Size and Data Quality Issues Illustrated Using Tornado Occurrence Data", E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology Vol 2, No. 5 (2007).

Del Genio, A.D., M-S Yao, and J. Jonas, 2007,
Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate?, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L16703, doi: 10.1029/2007GL030525.

Grinsted, A., J. C. Moore, and S. Jevrejeva, 2012, "A homogeneous record of Atlantic hurricane surge threat since 1923," PNAS 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1209542109

Marsh, P.T., H.E. Brooks, and D.J. Karoly, 2007, Assessment of the severe weather environment in North America simulated by a global climate model, Atmospheric Science Letters, 8, 100-106, doi: 10.1002/asl.159.

Neumayer, E. & Barthel, F. (2011). Normalizing economic loss from natural disasters: A global analysis Global Environmental Change, 21, 13-24.

Pielke et al., 2008, "Normalized Hurricane Damage in the United States: 1900–2005", Natural Hazards Review, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 29-42.

Riemann-Campe, K., Fraedrich, K., and F. Lunkeit, 2009, Global climatology of Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) and Convective Inhibition (CIN) in ERA-40 reanalysis, Atmospheric Research Volume 93, Issues 1-3, July 2009, Pages 534-545, 4th European Conference on Severe Storms.

Trapp, R.J., N.S. Diffenbaugh, H.E. Brooks, M.E. Baldwin, E.D. Robinson, and J.S. Pal, 2007, Severe thunderstorm environment frequency during the 21st century caused by anthropogenically enhanced global radiative forcing, PNAS 104 no. 50, 19719-19723, Dec. 11, 2007.

Jeff Masters

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590. allancalderini
8:44 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Td Ten and ts Jose tropical cyclone reports are out
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4401
589. fireflymom
5:55 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Hard to imagine a hail storm lasting for all those days, that is remarkable . So sorry to hear of the accompanying destruction and loss of lives.
Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 588
588. Skyepony (Mod)
4:33 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Lots of extreme weather in the news today.. here's one.

Malawi~ em>A two-year-old girl died in Malawi’s northern region district of Rumphi following a heavy hailstorm that hit the area and rendered hundreds of people homeless. The hailstorm which started on 29th December 2011 through to January 2, 2012 has destroyed over 50 houses whose roofs have been blown off. The victims have since sought refuge in school blocks while one old lady has been hospitalized at Rumphi District Hospital after breaking her both legs and an arm, officials in the district have confirmed. The lady has been identified as Edna Kazeze from Chozoli area and she was injured after her house was extensively damaged by the hailstorm. Rumphi District Commissioner Rhodrick Mateauma and Rumphi Police Victor Khamisi both confirmed the tragedy and said the disaster occurred in the area of Chozoli, TA Mwalweni and at Mhuju. The deceased young girl, Keriff Kumwenda, also came from the same area and was confirmed dead by medical personnel at the hospital. A postmortem revealed that she died due to multiple injuries and suffocation. “Medical doctors pronounced the late Keriff BD (brought dead). She died after walls of her parents’ house fell on her,’ “a nurse at Rumphi District Hospital said. The DC said preliminary assessment showed that Chozoli area alone had 16 houses whose roofs were blown off while 40 houses were destroyed at Ntchenachena. “At Mhuju Primary School, some teachers’ houses were also blown off and currently four teachers’ families have been accommodated school blocks,” said Khamisi adding that crops were not spared either. The office of Department of Disaster Preparedness and Relief is yet to come up with an official damage report, said the official. With schools just opened on Tuesday, it is not known how the teachers will cope up with the situation, considering that most schools in the country do not have enough school blocks/classrooms.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 174 Comments: 38159
587. hydrus
4:13 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
586. hydrus
4:11 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting SPLbeater:
Hour 84 over New Mexico
GFS 120..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
585. SPLbeater
4:10 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
be back soon time to eat :D
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
584. Skyepony (Mod)
4:06 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
JRRP~ I checked the ESPI. It's gone from -1.69 to -1.48 in the last few days. This big shift positive is just another piece pointing at we are probably seeing the peak of La Nina & things are about to swing back the other way.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 174 Comments: 38159
583. StormTracker2K
4:04 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting JRRP:




not as fast


I know the site you got that from and the date was 1/3/2012 was when that site was last updated.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
582. SPLbeater
4:02 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Hour 84 over New Mexico
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
581. StormTracker2K
4:01 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Over 900 record highs so far this week across the country. Today we should reach over a 1,000 for the week. Impressive!
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
580. StormTracker2K
3:59 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting JRRP:




not as fast


The 30 day value is 19.18 now not 21 so that map must be a little old. A drop in the SOI values of this magnitude really need to be watched. A report came out yesterday I believe saying La-nina will be over anywhere between March & May.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
579. SPLbeater
3:58 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
so we got 2 lows forecast to bomb out over the eastern seaboard and bring some real cold air with em...thats bliss right there LOL
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
578. JNCali
3:57 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Winter average temps are way above normal so far this year... makes more sense to wait for winter to be at least half over before FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT... imho..
Member Since: September 9, 2010 Posts: 5 Comments: 1034
577. TampaSpin
3:51 PM GMT on January 06, 2012



Looks like one heck of a NorEaster Coming.....YEPPIE.....J/K
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
576. Patrap
3:45 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of you can make of it whatever you wish.


Terrance Mckenna
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128648
575. ShenValleyFlyFish
3:44 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
16 November 2011 Last updated at 02:59 ET

Article written by Jonathan Amos Science correspondent BBC


Weather satellites and the gathering storm


May have been posted previously. If not thought folks might be interested.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
574. TampaSpin
3:43 PM GMT on January 06, 2012


That Blue/Green Area might be in for a big'n
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
573. JRRP
3:43 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Bye Bye La Nina!


Date Tahiti Darwin Daily** 30 day avg SOI 90 day avg SOI

8 Dec 2011 1013.37 1005.15 23.35 16.20 12.02
9 Dec 2011 1012.06 1005.10 16.81 16.30 12.07
10 Dec 2011 1010.93 1006.80 2.13 16.07 12.03
11 Dec 2011 1010.80 1007.70 -3.22 15.90 12.04
12 Dec 2011 1012.95 1007.75 7.68 15.92 12.24
13 Dec 2011 1014.96 1007.20 20.97 16.27 12.56
14 Dec 2011 1014.79 1006.00 26.31 16.65 12.84
15 Dec 2011 1014.61 1005.55 27.71 17.23 13.07
16 Dec 2011 1015.28 1005.10 33.52 18.33 13.21
17 Dec 2011 1014.33 1005.15 28.34 19.43 13.25
18 Dec 2011 1012.70 1005.45 18.32 20.12 13.27
19 Dec 2011 1013.06 1005.55 19.67 20.20 13.29
20 Dec 2011 1013.25 1005.00 23.51 20.44 13.40
21 Dec 2011 1012.64 1004.55 22.68 20.76 13.60
22 Dec 2011 1011.46 1002.50 27.19 20.68 13.87
23 Dec 2011 1011.39 1001.05 34.36 20.77 14.11
24 Dec 2011 1012.85 1000.50 44.79 21.60 14.34
25 Dec 2011 1013.80 1000.60 49.20 22.63 14.64
26 Dec 2011 1012.87 1001.25 41.00 23.32 14.82
27 Dec 2011 1012.94 1003.40 30.20 23.44 14.92
28 Dec 2011 1012.55 1003.55 27.40 23.19 15.00
29 Dec 2011 1011.96 1004.65 18.63 22.79 14.98
30 Dec 2011 1011.69 1006.15 9.44 22.86 14.88
31 Dec 2011 1011.99 1007.90 1.92 22.60 14.68
1 Jan 2012 1012.46 1007.75 0.48 22.09 14.54
2 Jan 2012 1014.28 1007.65 9.52 21.95 14.56
3 Jan 2012 1015.20 1008.85 8.20 21.54 14.66
4 Jan 2012 1015.26 1009.20 6.84 20.91 14.86
5 Jan 2012 1013.90 1008.80 2.31 20.09 15.05
6 Jan 2012 1012.86 1009.10 -4.00 19.18 15.13




not as fast
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5970
572. hydrus
3:42 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting Patrap:


He was a good man with a extraordinary Mind.

Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 %u2013 April 3, 2000)

Wiki has a full page on him.........................(In late 1999, Erik Davis conducted what would be the last interview of McKenna.[17] During the interview McKenna also talked about the announcement of his death:
%u201C

I always thought death would come on the freeway in a few horrifying moments, so you'd have no time to sort it out. Having months and months to look at it and think about it and talk to people and hear what they have to say, it's a kind of blessing. It's certainly an opportunity to grow up and get a grip and sort it all out. Just being told by an unsmiling guy in a white coat that you're going to be dead in four months definitely turns on the lights. ... It makes life rich and poignant. When it first happened, and I got these diagnoses, I could see the light of eternity, a la William Blake, shining through every leaf. I mean, a bug walking across the ground moved me to tears.
%u201D


McKenna died on April 3, 2000, at the age of 53, with his loved ones at his bedside. He is survived by his brother Dennis, his son Finn, and his daughter Klea.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
571. TampaSpin
3:40 PM GMT on January 06, 2012










Looks like ONE HECK of a Southern State Snow Storm possibly coming.....Atlanta Might get it really good.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
570. Patrap
3:36 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting hydrus:
This is always a great post. I managed to get about half way through the McKenna video before having to stop. I may be able to see the rest today..I must say it was intriguing and educational.


He was a good man with a extraordinary Mind.

Terence Kemp McKenna (November 16, 1946 – April 3, 2000)

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128648
569. NativeSun
3:35 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Not so fast on bye,bye La Nina just yet. Most of the models from CDC MEI web site of Klaus Wolterm are calling for a weak to neutral La Nina for the summer with a chance for a La Nina to return next winter.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 256
568. hydrus
3:29 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Euro also developes a Gulf low at 168hrs. This feature in not on the GFS yet but i expect this to show up on future runs.

The NOGAPS has a different view of the next system..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
567. hydrus
3:27 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting Patrap:
Climate change: How do we know?

The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.


"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."

- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. Studying these climate data collected over many years reveal the signals of a changing climate.

Certain facts about Earth's climate are not in dispute:

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many JPL-designed instruments, such as AIRS. Increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in solar output, in the Earth’s orbit, and in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.
This is always a great post. I managed to get about half way through the McKenna video before having to stop. I may be able to see the rest today..I must say it was intriguing and educational.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
566. StormTracker2K
3:24 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting hydrus:
The EURO at 120..


Euro also developes a Gulf low at 168hrs. This feature in not on the GFS yet but i expect this to show up on future runs.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
565. hydrus
3:22 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
The EURO at 120..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
564. StormTracker2K
3:14 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Bye Bye La Nina!


Date Tahiti Darwin Daily** 30 day avg SOI 90 day avg SOI

8 Dec 2011 1013.37 1005.15 23.35 16.20 12.02
9 Dec 2011 1012.06 1005.10 16.81 16.30 12.07
10 Dec 2011 1010.93 1006.80 2.13 16.07 12.03
11 Dec 2011 1010.80 1007.70 -3.22 15.90 12.04
12 Dec 2011 1012.95 1007.75 7.68 15.92 12.24
13 Dec 2011 1014.96 1007.20 20.97 16.27 12.56
14 Dec 2011 1014.79 1006.00 26.31 16.65 12.84
15 Dec 2011 1014.61 1005.55 27.71 17.23 13.07
16 Dec 2011 1015.28 1005.10 33.52 18.33 13.21
17 Dec 2011 1014.33 1005.15 28.34 19.43 13.25
18 Dec 2011 1012.70 1005.45 18.32 20.12 13.27
19 Dec 2011 1013.06 1005.55 19.67 20.20 13.29
20 Dec 2011 1013.25 1005.00 23.51 20.44 13.40
21 Dec 2011 1012.64 1004.55 22.68 20.76 13.60
22 Dec 2011 1011.46 1002.50 27.19 20.68 13.87
23 Dec 2011 1011.39 1001.05 34.36 20.77 14.11
24 Dec 2011 1012.85 1000.50 44.79 21.60 14.34
25 Dec 2011 1013.80 1000.60 49.20 22.63 14.64
26 Dec 2011 1012.87 1001.25 41.00 23.32 14.82
27 Dec 2011 1012.94 1003.40 30.20 23.44 14.92
28 Dec 2011 1012.55 1003.55 27.40 23.19 15.00
29 Dec 2011 1011.96 1004.65 18.63 22.79 14.98
30 Dec 2011 1011.69 1006.15 9.44 22.86 14.88
31 Dec 2011 1011.99 1007.90 1.92 22.60 14.68
1 Jan 2012 1012.46 1007.75 0.48 22.09 14.54
2 Jan 2012 1014.28 1007.65 9.52 21.95 14.56
3 Jan 2012 1015.20 1008.85 8.20 21.54 14.66
4 Jan 2012 1015.26 1009.20 6.84 20.91 14.86
5 Jan 2012 1013.90 1008.80 2.31 20.09 15.05
6 Jan 2012 1012.86 1009.10 -4.00 19.18 15.13
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
563. Patrap
3:11 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Climate change: How do we know?

The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.


"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."

- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. Studying these climate data collected over many years reveal the signals of a changing climate.

Certain facts about Earth's climate are not in dispute:

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many JPL-designed instruments, such as AIRS. Increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in solar output, in the Earth’s orbit, and in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128648
562. Xyrus2000
3:09 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting FLWaterFront:


The debate is not and never has been about whether or not climate change is taking place. Only a fool would say, "Now listen! The climate simply is NOT changing." So who exactly is doubting that climate change is happening?


Plenty of conspiracy theorists/deniers have gone to great lengths in trying to claim the climate is not changing, that temperatures are not warming, and it's all some massive communist plot for evil climate scientists to take over the world.

Seriously, I'm not making that up. Just read some of the crazy stuff posted on McIntyre's and Watt's sites.

Furthermore, is not climate change wholly natural, as evidenced by the by climatic record that has been obtained through ice core sampling, tree ring studies and many other scientific methods which have been well-established and practiced over many decades now? Obviously this is the case and it is more than a bit troubling, in my view, when the term "climate change" is used in substitution for anthropogenic global warming. The latter description is at least more to the point. But when one uses climate change in a context which suggests that it is either harmful or abnormal then this implies that a changing climate is not normal and we should expect the planet's climate to remain static indefinitely were it not for artificial and mitigating factors being present.


Arguing over terminology is not very constructive. Climate change historically has been pretty devastating to life forms on the planet. Significant warming and cooling both result in die-offs. So saying climate change is just a natural cycle makes it sound like something that isn't so bad, when in reality significant shifts in climate have had serious consequences. Even regional shifts in our relatively short history have resulted in entire civilizations vanishing.

Climate change IS harmful. Life that can not adapt dies off. Natural predators vanish, or invasive species can grow into areas where there are no predators. Weather patterns shift that can turn once arable land into desert.

Our agricultural production is dependent on a relatively stable climate. Anything that threatens that stability can and will have significant impacts.

Eventually the climate reaches a new equilibrium and life begins to thrive again, but the process is always disruptive unless the change happen on geological timescales, giving the current life a chance to adapt to the new conditions.

The real or intelligent debate centers around the question of just how much has the human race contributed to climate change, is this process ultimately and agreeably harmful overall and would the climate of the Earth not be changing as much or in the same way if human influences were absent.


The real intelligent debate is how climate change will affect the planet. Whether or not the current warming is caused by humans is pretty well established at this point.

Most of the current research is going into getting a better idea of what the impacts will be and what to do about it. That not only includes the magnitude of the warming but the regional impacts as well.


And from that point the next and logical extension of the debate is the question as to whether or not the climate of our planet has changed in the past as rapidly as it apparently is changing now, or more so, and whether or not this clearly natural process which occurred in the past and before human beings were capable of influencing climate change on a large scale was harmful to the natural environment, and if so, to what extent?


Rapid changes have happened in the past, usually as a result of some cataclysmic event. At other points the change happened more slowly, but it has always negatively impacted life on the planet until it adapted to the new conditions. Once life adapted to the new conditions it would thrive again until a new set of changes or the next event came along.

Rapid planetary changes are never a good thing for those who are currently on the planet. Even us big brained homo sapiens almost went extinct 70,000 years ago as a result of the Toba super-volcano, which ushered in rapid climate change.

It seems to me that there is little doubt as to the existence of climate change today and not much question that the extent and rapidity of climate change today is greater than it has been in the recent past. Once again, the core of the issue is whether or not human beings are responsible for all of this change or at least the greater part of it.


And once again, you should read the current literature on the subject. The evidence strongly indicates that human activity is the cause for the current warming. Climatologists studying global warming have moved well beyond establishing the culprit and are now focused on what's going to happen as a result.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1495
561. Tropicsweatherpr
2:58 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting StormTracker2K:


It was nearing 50 on Christmas and now negative. That is very impressive. I knew La-Nina would weaken but heck it maybe gone completely by mid March.


We have to watch after La Nina is gone and reaches Neutral Enso,how it mantains to see if El Nino forms rapidly,slowly or it stays Neutral all the way thru the Summer and Fall,and whatever happens will have big implications on how the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season will be in terms of activity.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14317
560. hydrus
2:57 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting StormTracker2K:


LOL! I bet. Geesh! I was 2 yrs old then.
I was a sophomore at the time. The weather in the late 70,s and early 80,s was violent at times in S.W.Florida. Just ask any of the mets that were there at the time..wild stuff.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
559. ILwthrfan
2:52 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
we are working on that the ultra zonic atomspheric wave generating device looks to give entire winters worth of snow in one and a half months looks like that anyway get ready to get an entire season worth of snow for the second half of jan and all of feb natures idea of a 2 month winter in a month and and a half


What about the Ohio Valley? I am no doubt a fan of snow, but we have only received a little over an inch for entire winter season to date.
Member Since: February 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1526
558. WxGeekVA
2:45 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting WxGeekVA:

Link

Interesting trend has developed on the 06Z GFS with wave of low pressure that tracks across the southeast which has an area of snow on the northern flank. Takes the area of snow over DC from hour 78-96. We'll see if this is just one fleeting glimpse on the 12Z run. It shows up somewhat on the NAM but slower and warmer.

The link is hour 84.


Sorry the image didn't work...
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3475
557. islander101010
2:37 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
i saw a herd of manatees in our area shortly before the cold outbreak no shortage of them here in e cen fl. ever see caddyshack pool scene with john belushis. lots of that was floating by a stalled out front in the sw carib.
Member Since: September 11, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 4728
556. StormTracker2K
2:34 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
The daily SOI index falls to negative territory,a sign that La Nina is weakening.

Link


It was nearing 50 on Christmas and now negative. That is very impressive. I knew La-Nina would weaken but heck it maybe gone completely by mid March.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
555. StormTracker2K
2:32 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting hydrus:
It gets downright nasty in Florida during El-Nino..In 1982, we had a squall line move through, after that, it was blowing between 30 and 50 KTS for three solid days. I lived on a Chris*Craft back then and it was a rough ride.


LOL! I bet. Geesh! I was 2 yrs old then.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
554. hydrus
2:30 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting StormTracker2K:



I know it's really dry here as well but the pattern is changing and we should be entering into a fairly stormy pattern for January here in FL. Starting next week we could be dealing with storm systems passing thru every few days. January averages 2.3" here in Orlando and we could come close to that by the end of next week as a storm system moves thru Wednesday and then again on Friday.
It gets downright nasty in Florida during El-Nino..In 1982, we had a squall line move through, after that, it was blowing between 30 and 50 KTS for three solid days. I lived on a Chris*Craft back then and it was a rough ride.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21415
553. Tropicsweatherpr
2:27 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
The daily SOI index falls to negative territory,a sign that La Nina is weakening.

Link
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14317
552. StormTracker2K
2:18 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting biff4ugo:
Thanks for the good news, Tracker!



FL as a whole is BONE DRY right now especially after the freeze we had this week. We are at a point right now that we have to start getting some rain because we all know the 90 degree temps are coming fast and we don't need a state on fire come spring.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
551. severstorm
2:16 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting StormTracker2K:



I know it's really dry here as well but the pattern is changing and we should be entering into a fairly stormy pattern for January here in FL. Starting next week we could be dealing with storm systems passing thru every few days. January averages 2.3" here in Orlando and we could come close to that by the end of next week as a storm system moves thru Wednesday and then again on Friday.

Heck at this point i'll take half that amount. Thanks stormtracker
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550. biff4ugo
2:09 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Thanks for the good news, Tracker!
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 115 Comments: 1579
549. StormTracker2K
2:07 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting severstorm:

Morning all, Well we really needs some rain here in wcfl. yesterday coming home from work already a field fire. yes really crispy out there.



I know it's really dry here as well but the pattern is changing and we should be entering into a fairly stormy pattern for January here in FL. Starting next week we could be dealing with storm systems passing thru every few days. January averages 2.3" here in Orlando and we could come close to that by the end of next week as a storm system moves thru Wednesday and then again on Friday.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
548. WxGeekVA
2:03 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Link

Interesting trend has developed on the 06Z GFS with wave of low pressure that tracks across the southeast which has an area of snow on the northern flank. Takes the area of snow over DC from hour 78-96. We'll see if this is just one fleeting glimpse on the 12Z run. It shows up somewhat on the NAM but slower and warmer.

The link is hour 84.
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3475
547. severstorm
2:00 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Here's just the 5 day totals.


Morning all, Well we really needs some rain here in wcfl. yesterday coming home from work already a field fire. yes really crispy out there.
Member Since: November 25, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
546. biff4ugo
1:09 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Welcome to the smoke!
It is dry in North Florida and the passing frost has crisped the leaves nicely. No surprise that there are fires all over this morning.

Is there a link to Dr. Masters on TV? I missed it.

The odd rainfall, nutrients, and sun have turned the Indian River Lagoon into an odd algal soup. Light isn't reaching the seagrass that game fish need for nurseries. Manatees need the grass for food, and the algae make them hard to see. That grass is also an index species to gauge health of the Lagoon. There is little to no money to study the bloom or even monitor the grass loss. Fisher folk will be crying soon.
If this is a regular natural event, it is a rare one and mores the pity we can't study it.
Member Since: December 28, 2006 Posts: 115 Comments: 1579
545. SPLbeater
1:09 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
The ECMWF's 6-10 day 850 mb. temperature anomaly map shows below average temperatures for the Eastern USA, with warmer than normal temperatures on the west coast.



the ECMWF says here:

--------------------------------------
REMOTE LINKING DISABLED

---------------------------------------

is that good?

i wonder how long it will be before tazmanian is on to tell you that it aint showing up LOL
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
544. presslord
1:07 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting greentortuloni:


I'd add (a la T. McKenna), that a lot of motivation isn't for greed but glory, not just personal but in the act of creation. While it may be theoretically impossible to remove personal incentive from human motivation, a lot of good can be done without greed. (I think a lot of greed is simply about scoring with the other sex, then as you get older its just a habit.)


God, I hope so!!!!!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
543. percylives
1:06 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting PlazaRed:
Peaceful tonight?
We've got antarctic ice shelves fragmenting and floating out to sea, we've got humans debating over CO2 quotas, we've got a few arguments over the powers that be and their powers?
I don't want us as an entity to become an also ran along with the dinosaurs and other extinct species!
I don't want us to become a part of history for some extraterrestrial to analysis!" I am a sentient being"!With more than a passing interest in the future of planet Earth.
Sorry for being a pain! but I do feel I have an interest in the place where I was conceived.


And the place where my grandchildren are running and laughing.
Member Since: August 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 99
542. StormTracker2K
12:56 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Here's just the 5 day totals.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
541. greentortuloni
12:54 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:

Yes, many people are driven to excel by the desire to better their position in this world (though just as many are driven by altrusitic forces every bit as motivating to them: the thirst for knowledge, the desire to help others, personal satisfaction, etc.). And there's nothing wrong with that. It's when that "drive to excel" causes people to let loose of their moral compasses that damage results. Most thinking people have no problem at all with some playing the game better than others and making a fortune by doing so. But "playing the game" and "cheating at the game" are two entirely different things, and problems arise when those doing the latter delude themselves that they're doing the former.

(On a side note, I would have to disagree with your statement that greed is the driving force behind most of the advancements mankind has made. Spaceflight wasn't driven by greed. Neither was the Salk vaccine, or the invention of the wheel, or the taming of fire, or language, or law, and so on... People have certainly profited from each of those over time, but they didn't come into being for that express purpose.)


I'd add (a la T. McKenna), that a lot of motivation isn't for greed but glory, not just personal but in the act of creation. While it may be theoretically impossible to remove personal incentive from human motivation, a lot of good can be done without greed. (I think a lot of greed is simply about scoring with the other sex, then as you get older its just a habit.)
Member Since: June 5, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1220
540. StormTracker2K
12:54 PM GMT on January 06, 2012
Wow! This is just the beginning as there are indications that the Gulf region, SE US, & FL are in for a very wet pattern of the next couple of weeks as the Gulf Coast & FL will be the battle ground for storms traversing the country.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.