Extreme events of 2011: climate change a major factor in some, but not all

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:54 PM GMT on July 11, 2012

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The science of quantifying how climate change changes the odds of extreme weather events like droughts and floods took a major step forward Tuesday with the publication of NOAA's annual summary of the past year's weather. The 2011 State of the Climate report contains a separate peer-reviewed article published in the July issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society titled, Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 From a Climate Perspective. In the paper, a group of scientists led by Peter Stott of the Met Office Centre in the United Kingdom looked at how climate change may have changed the odds of occurrence of some of 2011's notable weather extremes. These kinds of attribution studies require huge amounts of computer time and take many months to do, but the scientists plan to start making this a regular part of the annual NOAA State of the Climate report. Some of their findings for 2011:

- Determining the causes of extreme events remains difficult. While scientists cannot trace specific events to climate change with absolute certainty, new and continued research help scientists understand how the probability of extreme events change in response to global warming.

- La Niña-related heat waves, like that experienced in Texas in 2011, are now 20 times more likely to occur during La Niña years today than La Niña years fifty years ago.

- The UK experienced a very warm November 2011 and a very cold December 2010. In analyzing these two very different events, UK scientists uncovered interesting changes in the odds. Cold Decembers are now half as likely to occur now versus fifty years ago, whereas warm Novembers are now 62 times more likely.

- The devastating 2011 floods in Thailand caused an estimated $45 billion in damage, making it the world's most expensive river flooding disaster in history. The study found, however, that the amount of rain that fell in the catchment area was not very unusual, and that other factors such as human-caused changes to the flood plain and the movement of more people into flood-prone areas were more important in causing the disaster. "Climate change cannot be shown to have played any role in this event," the study concluded, but warned that climate models predict an increase in the probability of extreme precipitation events in the future in the region.

- The deadly drought in East Africa, which killed tens of thousands of people in 2011, was made more likely by warming waters in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific. While the scientists did not specifically tie the warming of these waters to human-caused global warming, they noted that climate models predict continued warming of these waters in the coming decades, and this will likely "contribute to more frequent East African droughts during the spring and summer."


Figure 1. An SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 14, flies around the Bangkok area with members of the humanitarian assessment survey team and the Royal Thai Armed Forces to assess the damage caused by the 2011 floods. Image credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Villalovos.

Weather on steroids
One interesting aspect of the paper was the scientists' use of the baseball player-steroids analogy to help explain how climate change can increase the odds of extreme weather: "One analogy of the effects of climate change on extreme weather is with a baseball player (or to choose another sport, a cricketer) who starts taking steroids and afterwards hits on average 20% more home runs (or sixes) in a season than he did before (Meehl 2012). For any one of his home runs (sixes) during the years the player was taking steroids, you would not know for sure whether it was caused by steroids or not. But you might be able to attribute his increased number to the steroids. And given that steroids have resulted in a 20% increased chance that any particular swing of the player’s bat results in a home run (or a six), you would be able to make an attribution statement that, all other things being equal, steroid use had increased the probability of that particular occurrence by 20%. The job of the attribution assessment is to distinguish the effects of anthropogenic climate change or some other external factor (steroids in the sporting analogy) from natural variability (e.g., in the baseball analogy, the player’s natural ability to hit home runs or the configuration of a particular stadium)."



Video 1. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Dr. Jerry Meehl explains how climate change's impact on extreme weather is like how steroids affect a baseball player.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Grothar:


Come on scooster, We go too far back. I hope your not mad.
No worries Gro, now where's that picture of the First Wife?....:)....
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Quoting Patrap:
There are now 162 days 4 hours and 47minutes until the 2012 Winter Solstice


Better get my Christmas shopping done soon!
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Quoting Patrap:
There are now 162 days 4 hours and 47minutes until the 2012 Winter Solstice
And the start of more AGW debates.
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1028. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Y'all mean to tell me 95 percent of our DNA is the same as chimpanzee's?


its also in a tree as well

everything is connected the entire circle of life

we come as many
but yet only one
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53844

Quoting ncstorm:


Im letting it the discussion go KoritheMan for the sake of the blog and its not because I dont have an answer.. its because its not the place nor time in this blog..just something that we persecuted christians do..
Do what you need to do, man.

Peace.
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1026. Patrap
There are now 162 days 4 hours and 47minutes until the 2012 Winter Solstice

EP052012 - Major Hurricane EMILIA


Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (4 km Mercator)


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Bob Wallace, your wrong. Wrong I tell you, flat out.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
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1022. ncstorm
Quoting KoritheMan:


I have never played the persecution card during this discussion. Show me where I have and you'll have a case.

/discussion


Im letting the discussion go KoritheMan for the sake of the blog and its not because I dont have an answer.. its because its not the place nor time in this blog..just something that we persecuted christians do..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15303
1021. Patrap
The Annunaki created a good stock and they should be impressed soon.


Fresca?



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Quoting Tribucanes:
Evolution is not a fact, it is a theory. My defense will be vastly scientific in nature also, I'm out for now, be back later when topic has changed. This is my faith, this is what I believe; I believe this in good faith. I'm not trying to spread lies, I believe this with all my heart and soul. I love you naysayers too because I generally agree with the vast majority of opinions shared on WU. Kori, ya few subjects I'm guessing we would disagree on, this is certainly one of them. And we probably, it would be safe to say, would disagree very strongly; and that's okay.


In science the word "theory" is used as the best telling of the tale based on available facts. It's the story that pulls everything together.

The theory of evolution, the theory of gravity - those things mean something vastly different than how non-scientists use the word. Non-scientists use "theory" in more of a "that's an idea"/"hypothesis" manner.

The theory of evolution is based on an enormous number of facts. And that's a fact.
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Y'all mean to tell me 95 percent of our DNA is the same as chimpanzee's?
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Quoting Tribucanes:
Evolution is not a fact, it is a theory. My defense will be vastly scientific in nature also, I'm out for now, be back later when topic has changed. This is my faith, this is what I believe; I believe this in good faith. I'm not trying to spread lies, I believe this with all my heart and soul. I love you naysayers too because I generally agree with the vast majority of opinions shared on WU. Kori, ya few subjects I'm guessing we would disagree on, this is certainly one of them. And we probably, it would be safe to say, would disagree very strongly; and that's okay.
Nothing wrong with adamant disagreement, as long as it well-founded and not ignorant (not saying anything about you btw -- I'm genuinely interested in reading your blog before I make any assumptions or judgments).

However, you might want to realize that the word "theory" carries a different connotation in a scientific context. In that realm it literally means "fact".
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Class...........Class.............Claaaaassssssssss ssssss...................Claaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasss ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss................ ..............................................Shuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutttttttttttttttttttttuuuuuuu uuuuuupppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp ppppp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sincerely
Sister Mary Elephant
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I'm not going to get into any religion, evolution, and global warming talks since I'm out of it.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting ncstorm:


Wow..the kettle calling the pot black..


I have never played the persecution card during this discussion. Show me where I have and you'll have a case.

/discussion
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evolution is not a fact, it is a theory. My defense will be vastly scientific in nature also, I'm out for now, be back later when topic has changed. This is my faith, this is what I believe; I believe this in good faith. I'm not trying to spread lies, I believe this with all my heart and soul. I love you naysayers too because I generally agree with the vast majority of opinions shared on WU. Kori, ya few subjects I'm guessing we would disagree on, this is certainly one of them. And we probably, it would be safe to say, would disagree very strongly; and that's okay.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
Quoting KoritheMan:


I respect you more than most here, but all of this is just plain wrong. Morality doesn't come from god, it comes from common sense. I don't refrain from killing because a book or deific force tells me to. I don't kill because I don't want to kill. Contemplating that thought makes me feel bad, because I believe life is precious. I am accountable to myself. It has nothing to do with god or evolution.

And no, our country is "morally bankrupt" (I don't think it is) because people are stupid.




Well spoken!

I don't like to debate religion, as it offends most and I don't want that. In religion, I believe there is no right or wrong, only "the way". We get caught up in being right or wrong, and forget to be tolerant.

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1012. Grothar
Quoting KoritheMan:


Stronger probably.


I disagree. :) I don't think she will get over a Cat 3 as she is now.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26151
Quoting TomTaylor:
Hi all, just stopping bye. I see the Atlantic is still dead. No surprise when the MDR/CATL is completely shut down from the large scale subsidence occurring over the region. This has arisen partially from the downward phase of the MJO and partially from the strong ridging over the Atlantic. A strong Azores/Bermuda ridge increases the pressure gradient across the Atlantic between the ridge and the Columbian heat low. Stronger winds create surface divergence/make surface convergence hard to achieve. This makes it hard for waves to develop and promotes sinking air over the region.

This sinking air has has dried and warmed the mid levels of the atmosphere, reducing instability. The reduced instability limits convective activity of waves exiting Africa and activity within the ITCZ/monsoon trough. Limited convective activity has also allowed ULLs to dominate the Atlantic. Right now we have ULLs over the Gulf of Mexico, east of Florida, NE of Puerto Rico, and over the central Atlantic. Finally, the pattern over North America isn't favorable for trough splits or any mechanisms to lift the monsoon trough north.

200hPa velocity potential showing the upper convergence resulting in subsidence, which dries and warms the atmosphere reducing instability.




Right now the MJO is not very amplified but is currently hanging out over the Indian Ocean. Models diverge greatly on where the MJO will go but for the most part it looks like it will hang out around the Indian Ocean in a weakly amplified state for at least the next week, despite what the GFS has been forecasting for the last week (strong return of the MJO into our basin). For now we can watch the East Pacific, which should get another storm within the next day.




Remember what occurred with debby, every single model says she was going to texas and the GFS going to florida, and the GFS was right.

If the GFS says the MJO goes to africa and west.hem, i believe in GFS. the GFS is the first option the best of the season
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Deleted
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1009. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
one day the truth will be known
then everything else will not even matter
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53844
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Should you wish to push it to it limits, we are here in theory only.


I accept evolution as fact, to me it's the only explanation.
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Quoting scooster67:

Can you show proof of anything, evolving from one thing to something completely different?

Evolution is the biggest lie ever crammed down our throats, even more so than AGW.


seeing e. coli in the lab evolve the ability to metabolize citrate is certainly cool, considering that the inability of the bacteria to grow in citrate is a defining characteristic of it.

but yeah, you're right, it's all a crock.
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Deleted
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Still a bit sheared.


Yes,low center is to the east side of mass of convection.
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Invent 98E is building up to be a strong storm.
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1002. Grothar
Quoting scooster67:


God (Creation) nor evolution can be proved. Each requires faith.

Keep, Grothar, much respect for both of you, but neither side will be changing the mind of the other tonight and the regular folks who want to turn things into a fight are swarming like sharks.

piece to both of y'all.


Come on scooster, We go too far back. I hope your not mad.
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1001. Patrap
My dog looks a lot like a Big White Wolf.

But with a better palate.
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Quoting Bielle:


Just in case you missed it:
When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged with the button and ignored.


WHAT?! Thats a rule?!!
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Okay people...

This is a WEATHER blog.

Weather is SCIENCE.

Science is based on FACT.

Evolution is a generally accepted FACT.

Therefore, let's try to STICK TO FACTS here.

If you want to deny evolution, go to a sci-fi or religion blog (same thing)...

Otherwise...



We've got the REALITY of a major hurricane to discuss!

She is quite a feisty girl!!!
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Quoting Grothar:
It looks like 98E is evolving into a strong storm.



Still a bit sheared.
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Quoting Astrometeor:


Tribucanes, I am a Christian but I still believe in evolution. The story of God and Jesus is that, a story. Something that made the sense of the things around us. The ancient peoples didn't have the technology like us to explain nature.

Any one think Emilia will be stronger at the next update? Or will she be weaker?


Stronger probably.
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996. etxwx
Quoting ncstorm:


Evolution is YOUR fact..not mine


"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
- John Adams
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Deleted
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sigh, even the normally rational and calm me is getting worked up...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Evolution is not debatable. There is an endless supply of scientific evidence I back it up. Global warming is slowly working up to that category too, whether or not people want to believe it or not.


I took AP Environmental Science... that class taught me about global warming with TONS of facts to back it up. Global warming is clearly real, believe it or not.
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Multiplatform Tropical Cyclone Kinetic Energy and Intensity

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Quoting ncstorm:


GOD is every bit of the reason..the Bible dosent start with Adam being an ape and then evolving into a human..dont knock my religion and I wont knock your choices either..


I wasn't knocking your religion. I was asking you to provide actual questions to the dilemma you seem to have with evolutionary theory.

I swear, some Christians and their persecution complex...
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I apologize for being off topic everyone..religion and evolution have no place on this blog..its just so hard sometimes to not say anything
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15303
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Why not? There is nothing else to talk about. At least this issue is fresh unlike AGW.


Just in case you missed it:
When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering. Material not conforming to these standards should be flagged with the button and ignored.
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It looks like 98E is evolving into a strong storm.

Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26151
Quoting Tribucanes:
Evolution is debate worthy. I can make a very very solid case for Creation. Evolution is a tool used to take people away from the truth of a creator and Jesus. We are all born with a natural belief in God, it has to be taught out of us. Evolution is a theory that serves the Devil well though. No creator, no real reason to be here, no real reason to be be accountable. I would, again make the case strongly; but most here would laugh it off. That's okay, I'll Evangelize where I can sow and reap the fruit before it falls off and rots. This is not that place. Evolution is a theory that hurts the moral fiber of our beings and country and is not true at all in my opinion. I'm done commenting on it, just playing devil's advocate on this topic because it's one I'm most passionate about.


Tribucanes, I am a Christian but I still believe in evolution. The story of God and Jesus is that, a story. Something that made the sense of the things around us. The ancient peoples didn't have the technology like us to explain nature.

Any one think Emilia will be stronger at the next update? Or will she be weaker?
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I'm going to do a blog on the validity of Creation. I'll have it up tomorrow because this subject just creates a storm of controversy and often animosity. It will be a very strong defense, so it'll be up tomorrow if anyone is interested. I respect all who strongly disagree and feel very strongly in their beliefs, whatever they may be.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
I'd actually love to debate about evolution. Would be interesting to see what it's like from a religious persons point of view.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32072
Quoting Tribucanes:
Evolution is debate worthy. I can make a very very solid case for Creation. Evolution is a tool used to take people away from the truth of a creator and Jesus. We are all born with a natural belief in God, it has to be taught out of us. Evolution is a theory that serves the Devil well though. No creator, no real reason to be here, no real reason to be be accountable. I would, again make the case strongly; but most here would laugh it off. That's okay, I'll Evangelize where I can sow and reap the fruit before it falls off and rots. This is not that place. Evolution is a theory that hurts the moral fiber of our beings and country and is not true at all in my opinion. I'm done commenting on it, just playing devil's advocate on this topic because it's one I'm most passionate about.
Creation is also debatable have you seen God because I don`t?
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What if God was one of us?
Just a stranger on the Bus
Just a slob like some of us
Trying to make his way home
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About

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

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