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Unsettled Science On Stormy Link

Steve Connor: It has been impossible to say these events were part of a bigger picture – until now - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent

Linking extreme weather to global warming scientifically, whether it is a particularly vicious hurricane in the Caribbean or a drought in the Horn of Africa, has been considered nigh on impossible. Until now.
Kevin Trenberth of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado is one of several climate scientists who believes it is time to look again at extreme storms, floods and droughts to see if a change signal can be detected.
He believes, for instance, that Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, was made much deadlier by the extra heat of the ocean and added moisture in the air.
"Instead of the observed 12 inches of rain they had in New Orleans [due to Katrina] they would have had 11 inches, but frequently these days the little bit extra is the straw that breaks the camel's back, it's that little bit extra that breaks the levy," Dr Trenberth said.
This type of thinking will infuriate the climate doubters who dismiss any link of an extreme storm, flood or drought with climate change. But there is little doubt some climate scientists now want to go on the offensive, believing global warming really is beginning to have an impact on people's lives.

Linking extreme weather with climate change is now to be investigated scientifically

Fair enough, Kev wants to look for a climate change signal in extreme weather events, not doubt that is a nice juicy research project but one that needs to be done. Just shows the science isn't settled, though from the headlines and quotes it seems that the researchers have a fairly clear idea what their research will prove.


I have no doubt that they will find confirmation for what they seek, such is 'confirmation bias'.

However, the great British climate teacher of the middle years of the 20th Century, Harold Lamb, used to hammer the fact that shifting polar winds equatorwards results in higher temperature gradients , resulting in more extremes of climate. This would explain the fact that during the Little Ice Age the departure from average temperatures was not extraordinary but individual extremes were.

Steven Wilde has an article that may explain the mechanism that causes these shifts in the Polar Jet Streams, and why we may be facing many years of turbulent weather in the next two Solar Cycles.


They never give up, do they?

No matter how many times genuine hurricane experts say there is no connection, and no matter how obvious it is to anyone who can count, that recent hurricane seasons have actually been on the quiet side; no matter how many times real polar bear experts say the creatures are thriving, and no matter how obvious it is to anyone who can count that they have survived and evolved through much warmer (and much cooler) times than these; no matter how often these things are hammered home, no, they never give up ramming their propaganda down the throats of the gullible.

In a perverse sort of way, one has to admire their chutzpah and thick-skinned attitude: after all, if I were so wrong, so often and so publicly, I would at least consider changing my views, or even apologising for past idiocies. But I suppose that's why I am not a climate activist.

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