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 TropicalAnalystwx13:
Jose? That you?



ur joking right? thats in my blog. stop im gonna go cry.
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
Just wwrote a blog
Link

thanks
feedback is appreciated.

Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6461
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
On my laptop, no worries about it getting struck.

Hail potential is building.

Windows are rattling from the thunder.



windows rattling?
normal tstorm...

small hail?
wimpy...

no worries son, stay on
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Rain, why U no come to North GA?
O wait, i know. Its because im back.
Just like on the day i leave DC, my brother sees a rotating wall cloud that ive never seen.

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Jose? That you?

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I sense that this may be a loaded question. ..... or, perhaps, it is this answer that is loaded? ..... I will have to ponder awhile on this one............


Too much CO2 has negative impacts on plant life.

Link
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Who told you to get up?

:D
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724. CJ5
Quoting MrMixon:


Would love to see what evidence you have to back up your many sweeping claims. Evidence aside, I'm curious about the part bolded above. So if two people are talking to you and one is telling the truth while the other is flat-out lying, you think it's OK for the liar to keep lying as long as the person telling the truth gets slightly more time to talk?


No what I think is that there has been too much emphasis placed on alarmist side and too much knee jerk legislation proposals and not a whole lot of common sense from the pro-GW crowd. Conversely, I think there has been the same problem with the anti-GW crowd. There have been problems with the pro-GW crowd and the science they have produced over the years. Not all of it has been properly vetted and diseminated. That also is a problem from the other side. This whole argument started out on the wrong foot and until those who represent the middle group start working together there will be no viable change on both side will continue to spread further apart.
Member Since: July 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
On my laptop, no worries about it getting struck.

Hail potential is building.

Windows are rattling from the thunder.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
Link

Looks like we will have enough juice to keep everybody happy today in Southern California. 102 at my house today!
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5106
Quoting OrchidGrower:


It still beats the heck out of doing nothing!

You're making your argument around permanent carbon sequestration; trees may have finite lives but they don't all surrender carbon at once. Having more trees WOULD help with the carbon issue as well as a host of other problems.

Bad enough that the very existence of GW is still argued, but to now be questioning the value of trees as carbon sinks....


I'm not questioning the value of trees. I pointing out that they aren't going to do much good to solve a global problem.

The largest carbon sink in the world is the ocean. You could cover every square inch of land (including non-arable land) with trees and you wouldn't even come close to what the ocean does.

In order to even counteract a fraction of our carbon output, you would need to plant millions to billions of trees every year. And that doesn't even address the carbon that is currently in the atmosphere.

In order to solve this issue, it's going to take world-wide cooperation and multiple approaches. The largest bang for the buck is not going to come from trees however. It's going to come from reduced fossil fuels usage, as that makes up the bulk of our emissions. Planting trees can be a part of that plan but unless we plan on reforesting a significant fraction of the planet it won't make nearly the dent that reducing fossil fuel consumption alone will make.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1450
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Bad CG lightning here. It's hitting very close to the house. May have to get off in a sec.


Yeah I would get off if I were you, if it's anything like the insanity we had around here last hour, you'll want to turn it off sure. I wouldn't have even attempted to use the computer earlier. It seemed like half the lightning was positive stroke CG earlier. It felt like my house was going to rattle off it's foundation, and people say Florida doesn't get earthquakes, well when you get lightning this bad we pretty much do get earthquakes :)
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7278
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Bad CG lightning here. It's hitting very close to the house. May have to get off in a sec.


do it, although lightning almost never strikes near my house, a while back our doorknob and computer mouse got fried by a lightning strike.
the doorknob was fine, but the mouse gave my mom quite a shock and burn
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Quoting Civicane49:

Wow, this looks kind of like Hurricane Iniki in your avatar!
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716. CJ5
Quoting wxmod:


Is there a shred of evidence to back your claims?


Which claims? That good legislation can be be bad despite the potential upside? No evidence needed.

That corps/orgs on the rabid anti-side spend and lot less than corps/org on the rabid pro side? Sure. He is one I dug up pretty quick for you.

Consider that about one-quarter of their total $4.4 million 2011 budget that Heartland devoted to climate research dissemination activities is barely a rounding error in what other opposing-view non-profits spend. For example, compare this with Al Gore%u2019s Alliance for Climate Protection which reportedly netted more than $88 million in 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council, which reportedly took in more than $95 million in 2011 operating revenues, and the World Wildlife Fund that raised more than $238 million last year.Then there%u2019s also many other international philanthropic organizations that copiously support climate-frenzy causes. Consider, for example, the European Climate Foundation (ECF) which %u201Caims to promote climate and energy policies that greatly reduce Europe%u2019s greenhouse gas emissions and help Europe play an even stronger international leadership role in mitigating climate change.%u201D ECF partners include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which awarded a $460,800,000 donation to another partner, the ClimateWorks Foundation in 2008%u2026plus $100 million more to them this year. ClimateWorks presents itself as %u201Ca global family of affiliated organizations that support public policies that prevent climate change and catalyze sustainable global prosperity.%u201D Also, lest we forget, there%u2019s a whole lot of other money available for those who will carry water for climate crisis and renewable energy promotion. The IPCC costs Western taxpayers about $6.5 million annually, and that%u2019s but a drop in the bucket compared with the $2.6 billion the White House plans to spend on research into %u201Cthe global changes that have resulted primarily from global over-dependence on fossil fuels.%u201D Data compiled by Joanne Nova at the Science and Policy Institute indicates that the U.S. Government spent more than $32.5 billion in climate studies between 1989 and 2009. This doesn%u2019t count about $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, foreign aid and tax breaks for %u201Cgreen energy%u201D.
Oops. Source. Forbes Magazine 3/6/12
Member Since: July 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
Quoting CJ5:


I think we can agree that not all corporations intentions are always altruistic in nature, however, to rant and rave about the money they may spend is a red herring. Two points, one, bad legislation is bad regardless of the good goals it may intend to serve and in many instances I support what some of these corporations fight against, and secondly, the amount of money spend by corporation denialists is a drop in the bucket to what GW alarmistsspend so there really should be much of an issue . A final point, many of the claims about corporate spending on anti-gw propaganda is false and inaccurate.


Would love to see what evidence you have to back up your many sweeping claims. Evidence aside, I'm curious about the part bolded above. So if two people are talking to you and one is telling the truth while the other is flat-out lying, you think it's OK for the liar to keep lying as long as the person telling the truth gets slightly more time to talk?
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Bad CG lightning here. It's hitting very close to the house. May have to get off in a sec.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
Quoting Tribucanes:
GeorgiaStormz the junior deputy of WU.


yessir!!!
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CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.4 / 940.6mb/124.6kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.1 6.1 6.1

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 24 km

Center Temp : -4.8C Cloud Region Temp : -68.4C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION


Looks stronger than 115mph imo.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting CJ5:


I think we can agree that not all corporations intentions are always altruistic in nature, however, to rant and rave about the money they may spend is a red herring. Two points, one, bad legislation is bad regardless of the good goals it may intend to serve and in many instances I support what some of these corporations fight against, and secondly, the amount of money spend by corporation denialists is a drop in the bucket to what GW alarmists spend so there really should be much of an issue. A final point, many of the claims about corporate spending on anti-gw propaganda is false and inaccurate.


Got any links? I'd love to see that data.
Who are the "GW alarmist" groups, what are they spending, and what are they spending it on, exactly?

The closest parallel I can think of is the cigarette industry. Was Phillip Morris a good corporate citizen when it created pseudoscientific research farms to attack and diminish the independent research that showed without doubt that their product was harmful? Did the public immediately embrace what independent scientists told them (nope)? Were people swayed by shiny ads or bogus "experiments" or PR attacks (yep)? Guess what, those same ad agencies, PR firms, and many of the same corporate raiders are still going strong, only now they're working to obfuscate the real science that's been done and being done on climate change.

(There's a series of blog posts that Jeff Masters did here on this very issue - someone with more kung fu than me can find the links...)
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Thundering and lightning here again.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
CJ5 auditioning for WU comedy hour with quality material.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
708. wxmod
Quoting CJ5:


I think we can agree that not all corporations intentions are always altruistic in nature, however, to rant and rave about the money they may spend is a red herring. Two points, one, bad legislation is bad regardless of the good goals it may intend to serve and in many instances I support what some of these corporations fight against, and secondly, the amount of money spend by corporation denialists is a drop in the bucket to what GW alarmists spend so there really should be much of an issue. A final point, many of the claims about corporate spending on anti-gw propaganda is false and inaccurate.


Is there a shred of evidence to back your claims?
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I hate when M4Qer's think that just because you want a active Atlantic you automatically want death and destruction.I'm sure no Floridian wants a repeat of 2004...
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Invest 98e
Wind: 30 MPH — Location: 12.6 103.4W — Movement: WNW
This area of disturbed weather has the potential for tropical development.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting Bluestorm5:
The blob in Florida is NOT going to develops... jeez! Why are Floridians so excited about getting hurricanes? Don't y'all remember what happened in 2004?
Who's excited? Another year, another few tropical cyclones, la, la, que sera, sera.
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Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927


Hurricane Iniki in 1992
The mother nature is is amazing

Wow... i never see a hurricane move nearly 90 degrees.... and reach cat.4 hurricane, incredible path


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Quoting quasistationary:


Yeah Jed...I had 2.25" in 45 min.


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.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7278
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Why do you guys always get so excited over every single blob you see? It's not going to develop.

Blobs only develop when watched closely... they get all vain and have to strut *something*.
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700. CJ5
Quoting Tribucanes:
CJ5, I seek openly, my heart and mind is not hardened to the truth of our present world. You go ahead and defend corporations that are voiding democracy ever faster. Your representatives serve at their pleasure. Abramoff on 60 minutes last Sunday really threw those he puppet mastered under the bus. Good video to watch.


It was good and he really didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. That was also a rerun and there was no outrage and demands for change from the people or the media. The issue is not corporations, the issue is our government representation and the lack of the American people to show any common sense on election day. I don't blame corporations anymore than I blame the citizens.
Member Since: July 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
Oh that blob over Africa will be the next storm for sure.Maybe first cat 7 In the world.
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Quoting quasistationary:


GW = BW


I was born in Alabama. But as far as I know I'm not related to George Wallace. Either one of them.
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697. CJ5
Quoting Neapolitan:
Well, some of those corporations could start by choosing to no longer fund denialist misinformation/disinformation campaigns. They could withdraw materiel support of the numerous quacks on their payrolls who claim there's no warming for purposes of self-enrichment. They could stop pumping millions of dollars into political campaigns to support candidates and issues that fly in the face of logic, science, common sense, and the greater good. They could publicly admit they've intentionally lied to and mislead the public for decades solely for financial gain.

Not all corporations are evil. But when great climate evil is committed, you'll almost always find a corporation behind it.


I think we can agree that not all corporations intentions are always altruistic in nature, however, to rant and rave about the money they may spend is a red herring. Two points, one, bad legislation is bad regardless of the good goals it may intend to serve and in many instances I support what some of these corporations fight against, and secondly, the amount of money spend by corporation denialists is a drop in the bucket to what GW alarmists spend so there really should be much of an issue. A final point, many of the claims about corporate spending on anti-gw propaganda is false and inaccurate.
Member Since: July 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1755
I'm getting excited over that blob over Texas.I think I'll be the next cat 5.Lol.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Are you sure? I see some banding features starting to show on visible sat imagery as if there is a surface low pressure starting to develop over south Florida. With favorable upper winds...this could spin up quickly....kinda like Claudette in 2009....


It's gonna be over land today and tomorrow.
Member Since: May 3, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 83
694. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Why do you guys always get so excited over every single blob you see? It's not going to develop.


XD

It's probably because theere are no real disturbances in the Atl.

But look at 98E, seems to be preparing for its name.
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The GFS shows a low coming off of Africa in about 6 or 7 days.And then before it has the time to develop kills it.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


It is still showing some vorticity off the west coast of FL tomorrow and Friday so we will see what happens but right now this low looks pathetic.


Are you sure? I see some banding features starting to show on visible sat imagery as if there is a surface low pressure starting to develop over south Florida. With favorable upper winds...this could spin up quickly....kinda like Claudette in 2009....
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Why do you guys always get so excited over every single blob you see? It's not going to develop.


Have nothing better to do.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
Got hammered here! Over 3 inches of rainfall, absolutely incredible lightning, and powerful winds!

I will put up some pictures at some point this evening. At one point as the line was approaching, I drove to a field where some high voltage transmission lines run right through my neighborhood. I do this because its a great view of thunderstorms coming fro, either direction. Right before I was about to take a picture, a powerful lightning strike hit the steel tower only a little more than 100 yards away from me! It left an electrical charge that arced between the phases electric lines for a few seconds after the strike. I literally drove home shaking because it downright scarred me lol. It was a bright purple flash, probably positive stroke CG, here was a lot of that today again. Smoke rose up from the base of the power where the current entered the ground through the grounding wire.

My street is completely flooded once again, thanks to a 2 days rain total of more than 5 inches!


Yeah Jed...I had 2.25" in 45 min.
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Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
The blob in Florida is NOT going to develops... jeez! Why are Floridians so excited about getting hurricanes? Don't y'all remember what happened in 2004?
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 7902
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Why do you guys always get so excited over every single blob you see? It's not going to develop.


lol!
Member Since: May 3, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 83
Got hammered here! Over 3 inches of rainfall, absolutely incredible lightning, and powerful winds!

I will put up some pictures at some point this evening. At one point as the line was approaching, I drove to a field where some high voltage transmission lines run right through my neighborhood. I do this because its a great view of thunderstorms coming fro, either direction. Right before I was about to take a picture, a powerful lightning strike hit the steel tower only a little more than 100 yards away from me! It left an electrical charge that arced between the phases electric lines for a few seconds after the strike. I literally drove home shaking because it downright scarred me lol. It was a bright purple flash, probably positive stroke CG, here was a lot of that today again. Smoke rose up from the base of the power where the current entered the ground through the grounding wire.

My street is completely flooded once again, thanks to a 2 days rain total of more than 5 inches!
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7278
Quoting StormTracker2K:


We'll it won't develope unless it gains convection. Right now it is just a shell of it's former self earlier today.


It will be over FL or riding the coast for the next day or so

Member Since: May 3, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 83
Why do you guys always get so excited over every single blob you see? It's not going to develop.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
Quoting ncstorm:


BOOMERS!!


What's a boomers?
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 7902
Quoting StormTracker2K:


There is almost no shear in the area where this low is trying to form.




Exactly....there was shear earlier...but none now. The upper winds have recently become favorable when the shear-inducing upper vorticity split into two centers (one E of the Bahamas...the other in the south Gulf). In between...we have an area of low shear...but more importantly awesome upper divergence between the two upper lows....

Tropical waves don't just blow up on their own...its their relationship with the upper winds. The trick is figuring out what the upper winds will do....and boy are they favorable tonight....
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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.