back to article Extreme weather blown away from unexpected direction

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    They say this now but wont stop it being used as an excuse for water shortages

    Just out of interest there are more spiders on this planet than humans, why are they let of the hook so easily :).

  2. TheOtherHobbes

    Oh, knock it off

    Here's an official summary of the report:

    It DOES NOT SAY what you claim it says.

    That's all.

    What it *really* says is there's a mix of confidence levels for different kinds of extreme weather events, in different areas. While some extreme events have low statistical significance, others most certainly don't.

    Please stop making this shit up. It's frankly embarrassing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They say this now but wont stop it being used as an excuse for water shortages

      Well, here's one arachnophobe who's gonna have trouble sleeping tonight. More time to code I suppose. Thanks for that.

    2. Steve Crook

      Re: Oh, knock it off

      Actually, what it says is that *currently*, there's no way to attribute any extreme weather event to anthropogenic CO2. It then goes on to make *predictions* for various types of weather event based on model projections and assigns confidence levels to them.

      The report also clearly states that any anthropogenic contribution is likely to be small compared to natural variation...

      So, as the article (and Pielke) point out, anyone trying to make links between *current* weather and CO2 cannot do it. There just isn't enough data to be able to make the determination.

    3. Screws

      Re: They say this now but wont stop it being used as an excuse for water shortages

      Spiders driving Hummers?

    4. Bernd Felsche

      Re: Oh, knock it off

      Download the full report. ( Not the gloss-over for political apparachiks.

      It (cites elided) states:

      ---------------- Attribution of Impacts to Climate Change:

      Observations and Limitations


      There is high confidence, based on high agreement and medium evidence, that economic losses from weather- and climate-related disasters have increased. A key question concerns whether trends in such losses, or losses from specific events, can be attributed to climate change. In this context, changes in losses over time need to be controlled for exposure and vulnerability. Most studies of long-term disaster loss records attribute these increases in losses to increasing exposure of people and assets in at-risk areas, and to underlying societal trends – demographic economic, political, and social – that shape vulnerability to impacts. Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses, but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research.


      1. poeg

        Re: Oh, knock it off

        In that a metric for "medium evidence" is nonexistent, they may well have just penned their "sexiest person alive" to it as an addendum and tip of the hat to the celebrity set. Not that it would have impacted the validity of it either way...

    5. smsman99

      Re: Oh, knock it off

      Such confidence and riteous indignation would be appropriate if you had bothered to read all the documents provided at the link in the article and come to a fully informed position.

      Your link points to the "Summary for Policymakers", whereas the quote in the article comes from the actual report where, on page 268 you will find the quoted text verbatim.

      Please take time to do the full research before jumping to conclusions. It's frankly embarrasing.

      1. Tom 13


        Thank-you for slogging through yet another overly long governmental report.

    6. Tads

      Re: Oh, knock it off

      Hobbes is right. The paper is stating that there isn't enough statistical evidence and too many other confounding factors to state current weather disasters and extreme weather can certainly be attributed to climate change. The list of confounding factors alone is huge.

      This is good science. Those taking it as "proof" of anything anti-AGW are laughable. It's saying there is no proof many extreme weather events are caused mostly by AGW, not that proof will never exist.

      1. poeg

        Re: Oh, knock it off

        "It's saying there is no proof ANY extreme weather events are caused mostly by AGW, not that proof will never exist."

        Fixed it for you, that is unless you have empirical evidence of such which would be celebrated by your face on the cover of Nature, a Nobel and open access to the swankiest parties Hollywood has to offer.

        1. Tads

          Re: Oh, knock it off

          I chose my words carefully. Scientists would not say that NO extreme weather events were due to AGW. So the correct word is many/most, not any which is a blanket statement.

    7. poeg

      Re: They say this now but wont stop it being used as an excuse for water shortages

      Try taxing a spider and see where that gets you.

    8. Tads

      Just more denier bull

      Reminds me of nothing more than when the deniers favourite line was "Scientists say there has been no statistically significant warming since 1992/5 (the goalposts move depending on which denier you talk to)." and spinning that truth to mean there WAS no warming and that science agreed.

      So now with a few more years data warming *IS* statistically significant, THIS article will be the basis of their new line. Denier spin - "Scientists say there is no statistical link between all these weather disasters and oddities and global warming!" Yet again they are right, but it's only a matter of a few years before this tired and trite misuse of sciences truth will also fail them.

    9. Tads

      Re: They say this now but wont stop it being used as an excuse for water shortages

      Do spiders dig up hydrocarbons and burn them? Where do comments like this even come from, the irrelevant misdirection page in the climate denier comment troll handbook?

      They're certainly not funny or clever. Try harder trolls.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it is just

    The weather going with the rhythm method, sometimes you're lucky sometimes you're not.....

    With the weather!

  4. Bill Neal

    Nice chart

    Looks like noise. They probably wanted the weather and/or temp to look more like Redhat's stock value. That would make people crap themselves, wouldn't it?

  5. Alan Esworthy
    Thumb Up

    "Waaaaaah!" chorused the spokespeople for Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and WWF.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They won't be too bothered. They'll just get their own in house 'scientists' to make a report which fits their needs. Most of their supporters don't give a shit about facts anyway.

      1. L.B.
        Thumb Down

        @AC 06:52

        As opposed to the nay sayers who just think: F*ck the world anyway I'll be dead anyway by the time it really matters, and will grasp at any tiny little bit of data (usually out of context) to back them up.

        Think (I know you find it difficult) but:

        - If you're wrong and nothing is done, millions could suffer from a screwed up climate.

        - If I'm wrong, but people try to stop adding vast amounts of CO2 by wasting energy and resources, there is still the benefit of having a less polluted planet for those that come after us.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: L.B.


          If I'm wrong, there's still a couple hundred years before the problem actually manifests itself, and no real proof of Doom! when it does.

          If you're wrong, we needlessly divert hundreds of trillions of dollars from other projects, some of which are certain to improve the quality, quantity, and even quite possibly length of life for everyone else on the planet.

        2. poeg

          Re: @AC 06:52

          Which is exactly why I propose we build a defensive array in space to prevent THE ONLY EOL EVENT proven and actually carrying a 100% consensus among scientists and atheists everywhere. Yes indeed, we need a giant billiard's stick, collect a few comets to chalk up with and a sufficiently large shooter.

  6. ChrisM

    Oh dear

    Here we go....

  7. jake Silver badge

    Personally ...

    ... I'm getting in some wood for the fire, putting beer on ice & making popcorn.

    The pseudo-science, hearsay, conjecture, personal opinion badly disguised as fact, and outright bullshit that is about to fill this thread should be mildly amusing, as usual :-)

    It's going to be a long weekend for the moderator(s) ... and it's only Thursday. First round's on me :-)

  8. IR

    "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."

    I was expecting him to say

    "where 'right' means that the report agrees with my opinion on this topic."

    1. Graham Marsden

      I'm surprised that...

      ... the words "Nah nah, ne nah nar!!" didn't appear in this article...

  9. Steven Roper
    Thumb Up

    My first thought on reading that article

    was that the climate change believers would be having apoplexies and screaming about Andrew being a biased denier and so forth. Andrew, you're a brave man.

    Getting the popcorn now, ready to watch the faithful start frothing at the mouth and speaking in tongues...

    1. Tom 13

      Re: My first thought on reading that article

      My first thought was, "What?! It's not by Lewis Page?"

  10. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    It's not the geography its the infrastructure

    There are about 104 tropical storms to Super cyclones each year. That hasn't changed.

    They move around the globe in an n-body cycle of come sort do that different ocean basins get more some years and less others.

    And they do do more damage nowadays; because people build houses and factories is silly places and usually destroy the land in the process.

    It is poor forest management and bad agriculture husbandry that causes disasters not storms.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: It's not the geography its the infrastructure

      It's the population and infrastructure overall.

      People tended to be more highly concentrated in "silly places" years ago because they were able to conduct commerce from those "silly places." As we've developed other infrastructure, we've actually moved away from the places prone to disasters. We've also developed means of alerting people and removing them from the disaster paths (tornado alerts, sever weather watches, Tsunami alerts). But because there are more of us, and what gets damaged is more costly to increase, the total damage cost numbers keep going up.

      Yes, you do still get place like New Orleans where everyone KNEW the current canal footprint was a recipe for disaster but ignored it anyway, but by and large we are moving away from the disaster prone locations.

  11. Nanners


    That hurricanes chart is headed in a general up direction.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Seems

      Your monitor must be squint.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Seems

      Yeah, just like a hockey stick....

      oh, hold on, actually it's more like a wiggly bit of wire used to unclog a drainpipe clogged with shit

    3. Armando 123

      Re: Seems

      And as someone who has seen Florida, I approve.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    seventeen years is the baseline in weather

    for working out whether the 'extreme event' you are witnessing is really extreme or just part of the random noise of a very complicated system. Source: Dr karl kruzeniski ( who is a typical swedish/polish/"australian national living treasure") oh and he won the Ig Nobel Prize in 2002.

  13. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Definitely too many attempts to tie AGW to extreme weather

    The picture of Hurricane Katrina coming out of a power plant smokestack in the poster for Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is a very good example.

    I believe we are doing something to the climate, but considering the big changes in lifestyles, industries, jobs, etc. that are being asked for to alleviate global warming/climate change, global warming advocates really need to avoid the hyperbole.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. smsman99

      Re: Oh dear

      Personally, I didn't interpret someone descibed as a professor at the Center for Science and Technology *Policy* Research as being a climate scientist.

      Leaving that aside, if you actually take time to read the report, the section under discussion ( cites a number of papers where Piekle Jr. was either lead or contributing author.

      If you believe his reputation needs to be questioned, perhaps you should take it up with the IPCC.

      On the general point,though, I will agree that "reputable" and "climate scientist" aren't often seen together. In the wake of Fakegate, even less so.

  15. cyberdemon


    I have never seen energy measured in Knots^2 before!

    Knots is a unit of velocity, if I'm not mistaken. Surely there needs to be a mass term for it to equate to an energy? ie 1/2mV^2?

    Otherwise a tornado would end up as having the same "energy" as a hurricane, if the wind speed at the edge is the same?

  16. Hooksie

    Anyone watch the BBC documentary?

    It was actually very interesting and wasn't polarised at all as to what was causing the supposed weird weather events. One interesting beardy man certainly gave the impression that he felt we had been living in the most stable weather environment for the past few thousand years that the planet has ever seen. As Doctor Who himself said; humans, always seeing patterns in things that aren't there. I love seeing the 'hottest day in 30 years' or 'coldest winter on record' bull-shit statements. Records, proper, accurate records, not proxies, have only really been around in the past, what, 100 years or so?

    I make no comment on climate change or whether it is natural or anthropogenic, but I've seen enough documentaries recently on the orbit of the Earth round the sun, the sun's natural rhythms, both short and long term, to know that our models can't possibly take all of that in to account and come out with accurate long term predictions. As for weather weirding, it's more that we evolved and lived in a period of calm which may be coming to an end (or not).

    We need a more pragmatic approach. Some things will be natural, some will be man made, we just need to try harder to limit our impact on a very complex system that we don't fully understand.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Anyone watch the BBC documentary?

      Caveat: the record events aren't bullshit, they just need to be kept in context: 100 years of temperature records, thousands of years of Earth history by us young earth creationists, and billions of years if you believe the Darwinists.

      1. Hooksie

        Re: Anyone watch the BBC documentary?

        Holy crap, he actually got away with that! "Thousands of years by us young earth creationists" and not one El Reg reader comments?? Sorry dude but it's the latter, billions of years. And through that time many, many, many different climates have been the "norm" for some period of a few thousand years and then it changes. My only point was that reading the rings on a fossilised tree or measuring isotopes in sea ice is may give an indication of conditions but is not, by definition, as accurate as reading a properly calibrated thermometer.

        Thousands of years, sheesh, I ask ya. What's a person holding those views doing on a SCIENCE website anyway? ;)

  17. Great Bu

    Time to panic

    So are we saying that it's time to start cracking open people's skulls and feasting on the contents ?

    I coul do with knowing soon as I have to go and queue for petrol.........

  18. tgm

    Global Weirding

    "One "surge" that is not disputed is the recent rapid increase in reports attempting to link extreme weather to a human influence"..."the BBC chipped in with a Horizon documentary on "strange patterns of severe weather".

    The Horizon documentary wasn't about global warming. It was just about weird weather; whether it's increasing, and what people plan to do about it, and *possible* causes.

    Andrew is being just as disingenuous as those he's critising by painting all discussions about weather changes with a "climate" brush.

  19. Peter Dawe

    Party while you can, Prepare for the worse

    Friday..., Lunch..., Beer...

  20. Tim Brown 1

    Could someone please...

    direct the writers of the IPCC report to the Plain English campaign?

    Do the people who author this sort of thing go on courses to make their language as convoluted as possible?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have they never heard of the boy that cried wolf?

    "global warming advocates really need to avoid the hyperbole\"

    Too late for that.

    The hyperbole being taken to such extremes 'Venusian hell hole' etc that has convinced me and many many others that the climate alarmists are fully prepared to lie about the global extent, human contribution too and possible immediate and long term effects of climate change. This has made me take a good look at the evidence and I think that their case is far from proven.

    This hyperbole and lies is also why millions of people now believe there is no climate change at all.

    1. Watashi

      Re: Have they never heard of the boy that cried wolf?

      Unfortunately, runaway global warming is one of those things we do have to be afraid of, just like asteroid collisions, local supernovae, giant solar flares and mass volcanic activity. It's hard to say what the risk is, but it is a definite possibility (as the atmosphere of Venus demonstrates). As we have very little chance our outrunning a drifting black hole or other calamity, we should at least make an effort to minimise the risks of disasters we may have some influence over.

      Considering the total overall cost of changing to renewable energy sources is minimal when compared to other big expenses (e.g. Credit Crunch, Iraq War) it seems churlish to cheap out on this possibly species saving caution. Blame the hyperbole if you want, or blame human stupidity - hopefully the policy makers will be a bit more careful than the sceptics.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Have they never heard of the boy that cried wolf?

        I'm with you, we should move our solar system out of the galaxy immediately,.

        If our planet were to be irradiated by an supernova then we would only have our complacency to blame.

  22. HooHah!

    Do you believe....

    Do you believe everything you read from the IPCC?


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