13 August 2010

How to Do It

The Economist has an excellent treatment of recent extreme weather events in the context of changes in climate. My only real quibble is the last sentence.


  1. We have record low temperatures in South America and we have record low summer temperatures in the Artic.

    Having record lows and highs at the same moment in time says very little about CAGW but it does suggest that scientists continually fail to understand the root causes of such seasonal weather events and as consequence underestimate the extent of natural variation across this planet.

  2. What really interesting about this is the mention of more water vapor in the air toward the end of the article. In light of this and the dependence of the bulk of the projected warming in the next century coming from increased water vapor, it is truely ironic that with all the money being directed toward climate science, your dad's blog (Aug. 12) points out the the NVAP data sets have serious issues that have to be addressed by NASA and the revised data sets won't be available for 2-3 years.

  3. The link between temperatures and blocking is purely speculative. They don't yet know why it happens. For all they know, a cooler climate might have caused a heatwave in Pakistan and a flood in Russia giving thereby a net zero change. Or it all may be related to something entirely different, like the record breaking solar minimum.

    The idea that a cooler climate would make extreme events less likely is certainly a bold statement. Mother Earth must have missed the memo because she produces plenty bad weather during cold, dry spells and in very cold places. I somehow doubt the last ice age had a lack of extreme weather events.

    The more people assume upfront with zero foundation the less likely they'll be able to predict extreme events.

  4. According to some paleo-meteorological work with lagoon sediments, there were many more frequent and strong storms in the Carib/Gulf basin ~4000 years ago than the present time.