Frozen in Time
Aug 04, 2017
Weather-related Natural Disasters: Should we be concerned about a reversion to the mean?

Professor Roger Pielke Jr (University of Colorado Boulder)

Roger is a long-term Research Fellow of Risk Frontiers and recently it was our pleasure to be able to host him, once again, in Sydney. During this visit, we were rewarded with an insightful seminar entitled Natural Disasters and Climate Change: The Science and the Politics. Below is a brief synopsis of some of the key points raised in Roger’s talk. A pdf of his presentation is available for those wanting further information.

We would also direct readers to Roger’s book entitled: The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change as the most accessible and thoughtful compendium of research in this area and of discussion as to the correct role of science in informing political debate and policy in contentious and important areas like global climate change. (see Roger’s book)

The world is presently in an era of unusually low weather disasters. This holds for the weather phenomena that have historically caused the most damage: tropical cyclones, floods, tornadoes and drought. Given how weather events have become politicized in debates over climate change, some find this hard to believe. Fortunately, government and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) analyses allow such claims to be adjudicated based on science, and not politics.  Here I briefly summarize recent relevant data.

Every six months Munich Re publishes a tally of the costs of disasters around the world for the past half year. This is an excellent resource for tracking disaster costs over time.  The data allows us to compare disaster costs to global GDP, to get a sense of the magnitude of these costs in the context of economic activity.  Using data from the UN, here is how that data looks since 1990, when we have determined that data is most reliable and complete.

image
Enlarged

The data shows that since 2005 the world has had a remarkable streak of good luck when it comes to big weather disasters, specifically:

From 2006 to present there have been 7/11 years with weather disasters costing less than 0.20% of global GDP.

The previous 11 years saw 6 with more than 0.20% of global GDP.

From 2006 to present there has be zero years with losses greater than 0.30% of global GDP.

The previous 11 years had 2, as did the 6 years before that, or about once every 4 years.

According to a simple linear trend over this time period, global disasters are 50% what they were 27 years ago, as a proportion of GDP.

Why has this occurred? Is it good luck, climate change or something else?

By disaggregating the data phenomenon by phenomenon we can get a better sense of why it is that disaster costs are, as a proportion of global GDP, so low in recent years.

A good place to start is with tropical cyclones, given that they are often the most costly weather events to occur each year.  The figure below shows global tropical cyclone landfalls from 1990 through 2016. These are the storms that cause the overwhelming majority of property damage. Since 1990 there has been a reduction of about 3 landfalling storms per year (from around 17 to around 14), which certainly helps to explain why disaster losses are somewhat depressed.

image
Enlarged

Even more striking is the extended period in the United States, which has the most exposure to tropical cyclone damage, without the landfall of an intense hurricane. The figure below shows the number of days between each landfall of a Category 3+ hurricane in the US, starting in 1900. As of this writing the tally is approaching 4500 days, which is a streak of good fortune not seen in the historical record.

image
Enlarged

A very conservative estimate of the effects of this “intense hurricane drought” is that the United States is some $70 billion in arrears with respect to expected hurricane damage since 2006. In fact, it is not widely appreciated but the US has seen a decrease of about 20% in both hurricane frequency and intensity at landfall since 1900. I urge caution placing too much significance on linear trends, as they are quite sensitive to start and end dates, but there is very little to indicate that tropical cyclones are either more frequent or intense.

Data on floods, drought and tornadoes are similar in that they show little to no indication of becoming more severe or frequent.  The IPCC concludes:

“There continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”

“There is low confidence in observed trends in small spatial-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail.”

“There is low confidence in detection and attribution of changes in drought over global land areas since the mid-20th century.”

Thus, it is fair to conclude that the costs of disasters worldwide is depressed because, as the global economy has grown, disaster costs have not grown at the same rate. Thus, disaster costs as a proportion of GDP have decreased. One important reason for this is a lack of increase in the weather events that cause disasters, most notably, tropical cyclones worldwide and especially hurricanes in the United States.

Climate change, of course, is all too real and has a significant human component. The IPCC has concluded that there is evidence indicating that heat waves have become more common as too has extreme rainfall in some parts of the world.  Projections for the future suggest that some other types of extremes - including tropical cyclones, floods, drought and tornadoes - may yet become more intense or frequent. However, there is great uncertainty about how extremes will evolve in the climate future.

But we don’t need climate scenarios to be worried about more disasters. To the extent that people believe that we are presently in an era of large or unusual disasters, many will be in for a shock when large weather disasters again occur. And they will. A simple regression to the mean would imply disasters of a scale not seen worldwide in more than a decade.

Consider that 2005 saw weather disasters totaling 0.5% of global GDP. In 2017, if the world economy totaled $90 trillion (in a round number), then an equivalent amount of 2017 disaster losses to the proportional costs to 2005 GDP would be about $450 billion. That is about equivalent to Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Andrew, the 2011 Thailand floods, the 1998 Yangtze floods all occurring in one year plus about $100 billion more in other disaster losses. And there is no reason why we should consider 0.5% of GDP to be an upper limit. Think about that.

The world has had a run of good luck when it comes to weather disasters. That will inevitably come to an end. Understanding loss potential in the context of inexorable global development and long term climate patterns is hard enough.  It is made even more difficult with the politicized overlay that often accompanies the climate issue. Fortunately, there is good science and solid data available to help cut through the noise. Bigger disasters are coming - will you be ready?

References

Mohleji, S., & Pielke Jr, R. (2014). Reconciliation of trends in global and regional economic losses from weather events: 1980-2008. Natural Hazards Review, 15(4), 04014009.

Munich Re, 2017.  Natural catastrophe review for the first half of 2017

Murray, V., & Ebi, K. L. (2012). IPCC special report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation (SREX).

Pielke, R. (2014). The rightful place of science: disasters and climate change. (CSPO: ASU)

Stocker, T. F., et al. (2013). IPCC, 2013: climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change.

Weinkle, J., Maue, R., & Pielke Jr, R. (2012). Historical global tropical cyclone landfalls. Journal of Climate, 25:4729-4735.

Jul 26, 2017
CO2 emission, CO2 absorption

Alan Siddons

The chart below is taken directly from figures provided by the U.S. government’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) website, specifically its 2016 Global Carbon Project spreadsheet on the Historical Budget tab. In terms of gigatons of carbon, and from 1770 to 2004, it itemizes the growth rate of radiative forcing by atmospheric CO2 and the growth rate of oceanic absorption, what is known as a “carbon sink.”

image
Enlarged

As anyone can see, and as was pointed out by Joe D’Aleo and myself ten years ago in Carbon Dioxide: The Houdini of Gases, as CO2 emissions increase, so too does the absorption of these emissions by carbon sinks. An odd state of affairs.

image
Enlarged

Joe and I weren’t the only ones to notice this trend. In Air Pollutant Climate Forcings within the Big Climate Picture, James Hansen et al made the same observation in 2009.

“Contrary to what you read in the newspaper, the sinks of CO2 are not decreasing. On the contrary they are increasing as fast as the CO2 emissions have increased. The fraction of CO2 emissions that disappears annually continues to average 44%.” - James Hansen et al

This may have been true as an average over a span of time, but it is not true in detail. CDIAC’s 2004 figures indicate 2.334 for oceanic absorption, 3.476 for atmosphere. That’s 67% of “disappearing CO2.”

Is something very wrong with the currently accepted paradigm of atmospheric CO2?

You be the judge.

Alan Siddons

Jul 10, 2017
Hot Temperatures In Summer Have Been Declining For Decades

Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow

This is a supplement to the On the Validity of NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU Global Average Surface Temperature Data & The Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding Abridged Research Report of June 2017 New Research Report. This post contains some of the same charts and some new ones.

Meanwhile, the NRDC comes out with another report that will fail like all their prior scares. They claim that heat deaths will explode unless we redistribute our wealth as prescribed by the Paris Accord. Heat extremes have been forecast for decades to be increasing and if listen to the media, you would believe it has.  CEI takes them to task for their alarmist hype here.

----------

Here is my take on it.

The fact is heat has been declining for decades using real data.

Iowa State University Mesonet posted this chart showing that for many areas through July 4th, the number of 90F+ days relative to the 1981-2016 to date average is below normal (so far) in 2017 in many areas, especially the southeast.

image
Enlarged

They also last year posted that the number of 90F days has declined for the 1981-2010 period relative to 1951 to 1980.

image
Enlarged

This agrees with the plot of the annual number of 90F days for all USHCN stations (Heller).

image
Enlarged

Which reflects the EPA Heat Wave Index annual plots since 1895 (Kunkel) and the number of decadal all time state records (Christy).

image
EPA Depiction of Heat Wave Index (Kunkel) Since 1890
Enlarged

This agrees with the plot of all-time state record high (and low) temperatures (Christy). The 1930s had 23 of the 50 state all time heat records and there were 38 before 1960 with more record lows than highs since the 1940s.

image
Enlarged

The average percent of 95F days has declined for all USHCN stations (Heller).

image
Enlarged

The U.S. growing areas (Primary Corn and Bean Belt) summer average maximum temperatures are cyclical and declining (NCEI CAAG).

image
Enlarged

image
Enlarged

Dr. Roy Spencer showed how the summer Corn Belt temperatures have diverged from climate model forecasts.

image
Enlarged

Precipitation has increased slightly and with better farm practices and hybrids and increasing amounts of the plant fertilizer CO2, lead to record crop yields. Even in droughty summers like 2012, yields were 50% higher than a similar drought in 1988.

image
Enlarged

image
Enlarged

Graphs of the number of 100F days by decade for Chicago, Detroit and New York City also show a multidecadal mostly declining decadal trend.

image
Enlarged

image
Enlarged

image
Enlarged

---------

See more from Tony Heller on Cooling Summers on the Deplorable Science Blog here

As Tony points out, the facts do not matter to the warmists and the media environmental ‘journalists’. It is all in the models or their imagination.

image
Enlarged

Jul 01, 2017
Getting the message out

Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, AMS Fellow

I have been a part of a team of scientists, econometricians and lawyers who have been working pro-bono in the last decade to fight against harmful, unnecessary regulations based on bad science. A second in the latest research report (first full abridged version (here) was described here) is coming out next week.

image
Enlarged

The pause in global warming has reached 20 years. The responses the last decade have been to try and adjust the data the better fit the models. This goes against the scientific method.

image
Enlarged

But with persistence from the skeptics and a whistleblower at NCDC calling Tom Karl on the data manipulation, alarmists appear now to be taking a different tack. In the last few weeks, papers from some of the warmists are agreeing their models are failing due to natural variability - many of the same findings we have reported on Icecap in recent years and in the chapters I did for Elsevier’s Evidence Based Climate Change and lately in the research report. One by some of the top alarmists (here) says:

Here we show that state-of-the-art global models used to predict climate fail to adequately reproduce such multidecadal climate variations. In particular, the models underestimate the magnitude of variability in the twentieth century.

I have also worked with Peter Lanzillo and the team at Hudson Cable to with other participants do a series on the climate issues. Part 1 was on CO2, the Demon Gas (showing CO2 is a trace, highly beneficial gas). Part 2 was on Taking the Earth’s Temperature (looking at all the serious issues attempting to estimate global temperatures and showing how the data has been adjusted always in a way to cause more apparent warming and better agreement with the climate models). In part 3, we were joined by another analyst to look at Extreme Weather (showing how all the predicted increases in the severity and frequency of severe weather has failed to materialize). In part 4, we looked at the natural and other man-made factors that do explain what the greenhouse gas theory can’t. Part 5, I was again joined by another analyst and we looked at the folly of a race to renewables (with a lot of attention to wind), strong regulations and taxes that have hurt our economy, small business and caused electricity prices to skyrocket.

image
Enlarged. Highest electricity cost states (March 2017 shown). The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states and California top the list of the lower 48 states.

image
RGGI states in Green.

We just finished part 6 on CO2 and sea level with Tom Wysmuller and part 7 on the Scientific Method abuses and the role of the media and our education system in indoctrinating young people and helping influence public opinion with Dr. Larry Gould.

Here was Show 4:

All of the research reports and the 7 hours of video have been done pro bono. If you DONATE to ICECAP we will send you links to all our shows. If you would like to discuss getting the series on you local cable access channels contact Peter Lanzillo here.

Why do we go to all this trouble. The answer is that the regulations, green agenda and the Paris Accord will cause great pain with no benefit - especially for those that can afford it the least.

image
Enlarged

Jun 30, 2017
Former UN climate chief: Only three years left to save the planet (this time)

by Michael Bastasch

The United Nation’s former global warming czar has published a paper claiming humanity only has three years left to avert dangerous global warming and meet the goals of the Paris climate accord.

To do that, Christiana Figueres says governments and businesses need to pony up $1.3 trillion a year by 2020 earmarked for “climate action” to decarbonize the global economy. That’s on top of boosting green energy and phasing out fossil fuels, mostly coal.

“[S]hould emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, or even remain level, the temperature goals set in Paris become almost unattainable, Figueres, the former head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, wrote in an article published in Nature. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed in 2015 would also be at grave risk.”

“These goals may be idealistic at best, unrealistic at worst. However, we are in the age of exponential transformation and think that such a focus will unleash ingenuity,” Figueres wrote in her article, which was co-authored by a few environmentalists and scientists.

The Paris accord aims to “significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” by keeping global warming “well below” two degrees Celsius by 2100. Beyond that, many activist scientists say global warming poses a danger to humanity.

World leaders are set to meet at the G20 summit in July, and Figueres wants them to “highlight the importance of the 2020 climate turning point for greenhouse-gas emissions’’ by imposing more policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and putting up more money for climate programs.

Figueres isn’t the first to propose a costly plan to limit future global warming. A group associated with former Vice President Al Gore issued a report in April calling for $15 trillion to be spent on green energy and other programs to limit global warming.

The Gore-affiliated Energy Transitions Commission’s (ETC) called for “investment in renewables and other low-carbon technologies some $6 trillion higher ($300 billion per year); while the largest required increases - of almost $9 trillion ($450 billion per year) - will be in more efficient energy saving equipment and buildings.”

A recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance report estimated $12.7 trillion was needed to keep projected global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

The report estimated $7.4 trillion will be invested in new green energy capacity by 2040, adding a “further $5.3 trillion investment in 3.9 [terawatts] of zero-carbon capacity would be consistent with keeping the planet on a 2-degrees-C trajectory.”

Figueres calls for about $1.3 trillion a year to fight global warming by 2020. So the actual cost of her plan is likely on par or higher than those suggested outlined by the Gore group and Bloomberg.

“[P]lans to fully decarbonize buildings and infrastructures by 2050, with funding of $300 billion annually,” she wrote, adding the “financial sector has rethought how it deploys capital and is mobilizing at least $1 trillion a year for climate action.”

That includes issuing “green bonds” to finance climate programs.

The world would need to get 30 percent of its electricity from green sources, electric vehicles would need to be 15 percent of the global vehicle fleet and reduce deforestation, wrote Figueres and company.

---------

The result of the UN green agenda:

image
Enlarged

image
Enlarged

image
Enlarged

---------

Dr. Patrick Moore, co founder of Greenpeace tells the real story that the MSM and warmists don’t want you to hear.

Page 7 of 277 pages « First  <  5 6 7 8 9 >  Last »