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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Sorry, if too off topic, but I'm looking to buy a weather station, and I was thinking about this one: Davis Instruments 6250 Vantage Vue Wireless

I'm ok with this being on the main blog, but if others don't like it, please private message me on your weather station experience or any makes or models you've bought or used.

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Thanks, in advance...
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Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting weatherh98:


whats the american name equivelant of jose?


I'm gonna go with Jose.

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Quoting wxchaser97:

So thats why I did terrible in 9th grade English last school year when we did our poetry unit jk. I do however do not like poetry at all and thanks. Emilia looks too good to go away now.
If she washes out her eye and makes it clear up then I think she can make a run at cat4 status.


I hate poetry too, but did okay at it when I wrote weather poetry last year for 10th grade. ;)
Emilia, make ANOTHER RUN AT CAT 4! that would be great. Prolong it for a little while longer while we wait on that invest to develop.
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting Autistic2:


Any one know where I can fing a Tropicl Weather Bog. I thought there was already a blog for this.


.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Quoting Neapolitan:


Yes:

hot

hot

hot
The last one lives up to its name. Luckly I'm not dealing with that now in MI. This lastes round of heat will cause more drought and fire issues.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting schwankmoe:


i think what's confusing you is that you seem to frame this as 'rabid' this and 'rabid' that. sorry, but the NOAA, IPCC and NASA are not 'rabidly pro-AGW', whatever that means. they study the data and support the data's conclusions. that hardly makes one 'rabid'. certainly there are some scientists at those organizations who are very forceful, like dr. hansen.

groups like heartland and other big-money funded groups, on the other hand, work hard to throw sand in the gears of basic science and research and obfuscate and lie in order to convince people that something that is actually happening is not. oil companies have spent untold buckets of money trying to confuse people as to what is happening right before their eyes, because they're afraid of some lost business or (gasp) gummint regulation.

back when the big argument was over tobacco, the doctors doing research pointing out that cigarettes caused cancer and were addictive were hardly described as 'rabid' about it. i would argue, however, that the pro-tobacco organizations trying to cut down all the research to that end certainly acted that way.

this is a war between basic science and reflexive irrational anti-scientific bias and astroturf skepticism funded part and parcel by monied interests who know what's going on but see a possible threat to their bottom line. end of story.


Any one know where I can fing a Tropicl Weather Bog. I thought there was already a blog for this.
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Quoting schwankmoe:
this is a war between basic science and reflexive irrational anti-scientific bias and astroturf skepticism funded part and parcel by monied interests who know what's going on but see a possible threat to their bottom line. end of story.


The unfortunate thing is that some otherwise smart individuals who have taken course work in math, physics, and chemistry to get advanced degrees have been duped into this "fake skepticism." I'm not sure if this can be explained by mere gullibility, wishful thinking, political adherence, or a combination. It's quite sad - and I'm talking about seeing this directly on a personal level - seeing people who can be so admired in other areas almost destroy their critical thinking credibility by spouting some of the things they do.
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the ignore feature does one viewing of the blog a marvelous service!
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15279
Quoting weatherh98:


whats the american name equivelant of jose?


Joseph, Jose is the Spanish form of the christian name.
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Quoting Astrometeor:
Hey if you put the symbol for hurricane on top of Emilia, you won't be able to tell the difference. Not quite annular.


It is the eye hasnt cleared out completely, it may never
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Quoting wxchaser97:
Heat Continues Across Western U.S.
Above-normal temperatures will continue today for much of the western U.S., with forecast highs in the 90s for many locations. Heat Advisories are in effect for several locations, while Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for the lower elevations of the Desert Southwest, where highs in the 110 to 120 degree range are expected. Link


Yes:

hot

hot

hot
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13526
Hey if you put the symbol for hurricane on top of Emilia, you won't be able to tell the difference. Not quite annular.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


roses are red
violets are blue
your rhyme sucks
just like you


ok, jk, you rock

So thats why I did terrible in 9th grade English last school year when we did our poetry unit jk. I do however do not like poetry at all and thanks. Emilia looks too good to go away now.
If she washes out her eye and makes it clear up then I think she can make a run at cat4 status.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
The eye has become clearer over the past several hours.

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting barbamz:


José = Joe / Joseph, as much as I can see.


then we will go with joe!
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Quoting weatherh98:


go with josh


José = Joe / Joseph, as much as I can see.
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Quoting CJ5:


That is some rich soil you just layed on the table. I wish I could discuss with you but I have a 20th Anniversay dinner with my wife and if I am late gloabal warming will be the least of my problems.


i think what's confusing you is that you seem to frame this as 'rabid' this and 'rabid' that. sorry, but the NOAA, IPCC and NASA are not 'rabidly pro-AGW', whatever that means. they study the data and support the data's conclusions. that hardly makes one 'rabid'. certainly there are some scientists at those organizations who are very forceful, like dr. hansen.

groups like heartland and other big-money funded groups, on the other hand, work hard to throw sand in the gears of basic science and research and obfuscate and lie in order to convince people that something that is actually happening is not. oil companies have spent untold buckets of money trying to confuse people as to what is happening right before their eyes, because they're afraid of some lost business or (gasp) gummint regulation.

back when the big argument was over tobacco, the doctors doing research pointing out that cigarettes caused cancer and were addictive were hardly described as 'rabid' about it. i would argue, however, that the pro-tobacco organizations trying to cut down all the research to that end certainly acted that way.

this is a war between basic science and reflexive irrational anti-scientific bias and astroturf skepticism funded part and parcel by monied interests who know what's going on but see a possible threat to their bottom line. end of story.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


josh?
joshua= josue


go with josh
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Quoting wxchaser97:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Daniel is dead
Emilia don't follow soon


roses are red
violets are blue
your rhyme sucks
just like you


ok, jk, you rock
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:


whats the american name equivelant of jose?


josh?
joshua= josue
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Daniel is dead
Emilia don't follow soon
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Emilia Long Floater - Rainbow Color Imagery Loop


click image for Loop


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Quoting weatherh98:


whats the american name equivelant of jose?


I dont do labels.

Ever.

Thanx
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Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting Patrap:
TD Daniel


A skeleton remains,,



whats the american name equivelant of jose?
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
What does everybody think the wind update will be at the 8:00 advisory??? i think it'll be around 125mph
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Looking down a Major's Gullet.

EP052012 - Major Hurricane EMILIA

22:00 UTC Viz


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TD Daniel


A skeleton remains,,

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Quoting Patrap:
who's yer Daddy?



classified info
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Quoting Patrap:
Ahhhh, the Silencer attempt.

Noble but like throwing sand at a Tornado.


INDEED!!!!!!!!!!!!
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GOM sending some moisture to Middle TN this afternoon.. so nice to be in the upper 80's after that stretch of 105+ days.. and with the rains...BONUS!
I shot this nice little cell going South on the 48 from Clarksville this afternoon
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who's yer Daddy?

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Quoting NorCalSevereWx:
Agree with Jedkins01. Who wants to go round and round like a hamster about climate change when you have the beautiful Emilia prancing around? Nice post Wxchaser97!
Thanxs, Emilia is stronger than 115.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
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Currently Active Tropical Cyclones
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looking at patrap's radar post, I noticed a big cloud
of smug eminating from the uptown area.
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Trust?

ack!
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:

Or as some say" Why do you get so excited over blobs?"..........lollol
Atleast this is invested in by the NHC:) The other blobs are too unstable to trust right now.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting Patrap:
June co2 is in.

Surprised?


395.77ppm


Atmospheric CO2 for June 2012


co2now.org



I'm sure there will be argument over this, but should I be concerned about this? Is the rising CO2 a HUGE concern? Just wondering... I don't really like the thoughts of dying planet :\
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
Quoting BobWallace:


I was born in Alabama. But as far as I know I'm not related to George Wallace. Either one of them.


LOL!
Member Since: May 3, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 83
Quoting Jedkins01:


Nice! At one point we had a really intense burst, along with really strong winds, where it went completely white outside and I got over an inch in 10 minutes, rainfall rate of 6 inches per hours, crazy stuff, my street is flooded pretty bad, I'll post photos I took later tonight.


WOW!
Member Since: May 3, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 83
Quoting Jedkins01:
I just came to the conclusion that some people here really need to get away from the computer and get in real life. It seems that there is no end to the climate change bickering, because certain individuals are so lame the post the same junk everyday, like a broken record, the refers to both those backing climate change and those who aren't. Seriously guys, let it go for a while, how much can you possible repeat the same stuff over and over?


No one is "backing" climate change, are they?
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
They can go at it much longer than this. When someone is passionate about something they can go on till the day they die.


Its like the off season with a TD an invest and a Annular hurricane!
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6492
Emilia is 135-140 MPH currently IMO. She's looking great now and is, apparently, ignoring the cooler water. Is she now an annular hurricane?

Btw, blog will be up later tonight.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8007
Heat Continues Across Western U.S.
Above-normal temperatures will continue today for much of the western U.S., with forecast highs in the 90s for many locations. Heat Advisories are in effect for several locations, while Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for the lower elevations of the Desert Southwest, where highs in the 110 to 120 degree range are expected. Link
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Blog update.

Emilia re-strengthens; 98E nearly a tropical depression; Daniel weakening
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting wxchaser97:
Thats a lot of convection over the center, should be a TD soon.

Or as some say" Why do you get so excited over blobs?"..........lollol
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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.

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