Feeds

EXTREME weather blown away from unexpected direction

Give us back our doom, plead hippies

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Comment Allegations of a "surge" in "extreme" weather events has been quashed by a surprising source - the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change," writes the IPCC in its new Special Report on Extremes (SREX) published today.

"The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados," the authors conclude, adding for good measure that "absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses".

Roger Pielke Jr, a professor at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a blogger who aligns himself with the "debate is over" camp, welcomed the IPCC report.

"Anytime that you read claims that invoke disasters loss trends as an indication of human-caused climate change… you can simply call 'bullshit' and point to the IPCC SREX report," said Prof Pielke. He adds: "Kudos to the IPCC - they have gotten the issue just about right, where 'right' means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic."

One "surge" that is not disputed is the recent rapid increase in reports attempting to link extreme weather to a human influence. Coumou and Rahmstorf produced one attempt last week; Lubchenco and Karl another. And with remarkable coincidence, the BBC chipped in with a Horizon documentary on "strange patterns of severe weather".

Whether there is an increase in extreme weather is disputed; more hurricanes are recorded, including many that would never have been recorded before. Hurricane energy is a good proxy for increased energy in the climate, but this shows no increase for 15 years.

Global Hurricane Energy since 1974: not so weird

Pielke suggests a reason for this amazing surge. With concern for the climate change waning in the few English-speaking countries in which it ever captured the imagination, "extreme" weather reports are useful as a propaganda tool.

"The siren song of linking disasters to human-caused climate change exerts a strong pull for activists in all settings," he said.

Without strong scientific evidence, the use of "extreme" or "strange" weather to manipulate support for contentious political programmes relies on enduring and ancient superstitions. ®

Link to the report

SREX

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.